UAE Implements Robust Consumer Protection Measures
Mokshita P.
10x Industry

UAE Implements Robust Consumer Protection Measures

The legal framework aims to fortify consumer rights, ensure transparent business practices, and elevate the country's global standing in consumer protection.

The Ministry of Economy held a briefing session to unveil key amendments to the UAE's consumer protection system. The revisions, highlighted by Federal Decree Law No. 5 of 2023, amend Federal Law No. 15 of 2020 on consumer protection. The accompanying executive regulation, Cabinet Decision No. 66 of 2023, complements these changes.

The briefing, attended by H.E. Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy, emphasised the transformative impact of the amendments. H.E. Al Saleh stated, "The new Consumer Protection Law and its implementing regulation represent a real milestone in the government’s efforts to develop the country's consumer protection system in accordance with best practices."

The amendments focus on two core dimensions. Firstly, empowering local authorities with enhanced legislative powers to enforce consumer protection laws effectively. Secondly, reinforcing deterrent measures to ensure merchants meet their legal obligations, thus boosting a balanced merchant-consumer relationship.

Among the highlights of the amended legislation are:

Integrated Legislative System: The revised law establishes a legislative framework to safeguard consumers' rights and uphold high standards of protection.

Offences and Fines: A list of 46 offences is introduced, with fines reaching up to AED 1 million, serving as a deterrent against violations of consumer rights.

Merchant Responsibilities: Merchants' obligations during sales or service provision are elaborated, including 43 detailed commitments, representing a significant expansion from previous legislation.

Empowered Local Authorities: Relevant local authorities are granted necessary powers for effective enforcement, including receiving and resolving consumer complaints, imposing penalties, and addressing grievances.

Expedited Dispute Resolution: A new mechanism for expedited dispute resolution is introduced, minimising the need for consumers to resort to the judiciary for every dispute.

Transparency and Oversight: The legislation aims to enhance transparency, improve consumer experience, and strengthen oversight mechanisms for local authorities.

Prohibited Practices: Monopolistic practices and unfair clauses harming consumers are expressly prohibited, with examples provided in the legislation.

Furthermore, H.E. Al Saleh highlighted amendments to key articles (5, 22, and 36), emphasising the establishment of the 'Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection,' increased authority for local entities in handling consumer complaints, and an improved grievance review process.

The revised executive regulations outline a plan, emphasising legal procedures and mechanisms for consumer protection. The plan includes provisions ensuring protection at various stages of the consumer-supplier relationship, procedures for handling product defects, and clear guidelines for local authorities.

Penalties for violations are categorised, ranging from fines to license cancellation or deregistration for repeated offences. Pricing reforms mandate merchants to display prices per unit, promoting transparency and informed consumer decision-making.

H.E. Al Saleh concluded by urging consumers to be aware of their rights, emphasising mechanisms for claims, while also calling on sellers to understand their obligations. These amendments mark a significant stride towards enhancing consumer protection, aligning with the UAE's vision for 2031.

The Ministry of Economy is collaborating with local entities to develop a robust system for efficiently managing and addressing complaints, with the aim of boosting consumer confidence and safeguarding their rights in the market.