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UAE Strengthens Consumer Rights: What You Need to Know About Your Legal Protections

Consumer Law empowers consumers to demand fair treatment and safety in product purchases

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 3, 2024, 16:52:52

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UAE, consumer rights, shopping, consumer protection law

As the UAE continues to thrive as a global shopping destination, the importance of robust consumer protection measures cannot be overstated. Whether you're a resident or a tourist, understanding your rights as a consumer is crucial to ensure fair treatment and recourse in the event of a dispute.

In recent years, the UAE has made significant strides in enhancing consumer protection through various legal frameworks and initiatives.

The cornerstone of these efforts is the Federal Law No. (15) of 2020 on Consumer Protection (UAE Consumer Protection Law), which outlines the rights of consumers and the obligations of businesses operating within the country.

Key Consumer Rights under UAE Law

The UAE Consumer Protection Law guarantees several fundamental rights to consumers, including:
• Right to Safety: Products sold in the UAE must be safe and not pose any risk to health and safety.
• Right to Information: Consumers should be provided with clear, accurate, and sufficient information about products and services.
• Right to Choose: Consumers should have a variety of choices and access to competitive prices.
• Right to Be Heard: Consumers have the right to voice complaints and seek redress for any grievances.
• Right to Education: Consumers should be educated about their rights and how to exercise them effectively.

Common Legal Questions and Remedies

Consumer disputes can be challenging. Here are some common questions and legal remedies available under the UAE Consumer Protection Law:

Question 1: What should I do if the warranty terms are unclear or not honoured?

Scenario: I purchased an electronic gadget with a one-year warranty, but the warranty terms were not specified in the invoice. When the gadget malfunctioned after six months, the retailer refused to honour the warranty, claiming it didn’t cover the issue.

Legal Insight: The UAE Consumer Protection Law mandates that warranty details must be clearly mentioned in the invoice or receipt. If the warranty terms are not specified or are being unfairly applied, the consumer has a right to challenge this.

Remedy: The consumer should request written clarification of the warranty terms from the retailer. If the retailer refuses to comply, the consumer can approach the Consumer Protection Department or the Economic Department of the emirate where the purchase was made. Providing proof of purchase and any previous communication with the retailer will be important in resolving the dispute.

Question 2: What if I encounter deceptive advertising or misleading product descriptions?

Scenario: I bought a smartphone online based on the advertised features. However, upon receiving it, I discovered that the actual specifications did not match the description provided.

Legal Insight: Misleading advertisements or false product descriptions are prohibited under the UAE Consumer Protection Law. Consumers have the right to receive products that meet the advertised specifications and descriptions.

Remedy: The consumer should immediately contact the seller to request a refund or exchange for the correct product. If the seller refuses to cooperate, the consumer can lodge a complaint with the Consumer Protection Department or the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) for online purchases. Documentation of the advertisement and any purchase receipts will support the claim.

Question 3: Can a shop charge for repairs within the warranty period?

Scenario: My car, which is still under warranty, required repairs. However, the dealership charged me for the repairs, stating that the warranty does not cover certain parts.

Legal Insight: During the warranty period, repairs for defects covered by the warranty should generally be free of charge. The terms of the warranty, including any exclusions, must be clearly stated. Charging for repairs that should be covered under the warranty may be considered a violation of consumer rights.

Remedy: The consumer should review the warranty terms provided at the time of purchase. If the warranty covers the repairs, they can request a refund for the charges from the dealership. If the dealership refuses, the consumer can file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Department or the relevant Automotive Authority.

Conclusion

The UAE’s commitment to protecting consumer rights is reflected in its comprehensive legal frameworks and the establishment of dedicated regulatory bodies. Consumers are encouraged to familiarise themselves with their rights and the remedies available to them.

In the event of a dispute, it is advisable to seek resolution through the appropriate channels, ensuring that all interactions and transactions are well-documented.

For further assistance, consumers can contact the Ministry of Economy's Consumer Protection Department or visit the consumer protection website of their respective emirate.

Contact Information: For consumer complaints or inquiries, visit the Ministry of Economy’s Consumer Protection Department website or contact their helpline 600-545555.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004. Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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