UAE laws in place to protect consumer rights

Are there any rules in the UAE that give any rights to customers when shopping? I bought a lamp from a mall recently but when I got it home it didn’t work. I changed the bulb and still nothing and so I took it back. It was in a box and brand new, plus I had the receipt and took it back the next day. The store staff told me that they did not give refunds. When pushed they offered a credit note, but this doesn’t seem fair as they sold me something that was faulty. Where do I stand? GS, Dubai

There are indeed laws in place to protect consumers and have been for many years. This comes under Federal Law (24) of 2006 and is overseen by the Consumer Protection Department of the Ministry of Economic Development. The law has since been supplemented by an Executive Regulation of 2007 and the government websites set out a Consumer Code of Rights and this should be displayed in all stores. This states that goods must meet a level of quality and performance that would be a reasonable expectation given the specifications and the price. You would therefore expect a lamp to be in working order at the time of purchase. Consumers have the right to receive an appropriate remedy for the problem with both goods and services and this should be a repair, a replacement or a refund depending on the nature of the problem. In this situation I would expect there to be an offer of a replacement or for a refund to be given.

Sales staff should be trained to understand the basics of this law and if any customer does not receive a satisfactory response when making a complaint they should first ask to speak to the store manager, but if that is not sufficient a complaint can be made to the Consumer Protection Department. More information can be found on their website, including details of how to register a formal complaint.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 years’ experience. Contact her at Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE.

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.

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