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Dr Juma Bilal Fairouz says his community-based organisation is devoted to consumer rights and safety.
Dr Juma Bilal Fairouz says his community-based organisation is devoted to consumer rights and safety.

Emirates Society devoted to consumers

The Emirates Society is a community-based organisation devoted to protecting consumer rights.

How would you describe the role of the Emirates Society?

The Emirates Society is a member of the Arab Consumer Protection Union, which is based in Amman, Jordan. We are also attached to Consumer International, a world federation with more than 220-member organisations in 115 countries. The society is community based and we are always looking to recruit more members. The aim of this organisation is to spread our message and ideals throughout the business community so consumer rights are not neglected.

When was it founded? How many members do you have?

The Emirates Society was recognised by the UAE Government as an NGO in September 1989. Our office is located in Sharjah. We are serious about opening a main office in Abu Dhabi in the near future, but we need the young and retired, or anyone looking to volunteer, to be ready to work with us. That will strengthen the society. At the moment, we have 80 members and we hope to grow.

Why are consumer rights so important?

These rights are important because they protect our heath, safety and environment. It's only fair that people are aware when they purchase things or receive services. In my opinion, the biggest problem is not the lack of rights, but with those who do not know they are entitled to something better. People in the UAE must look sharply to their rights as consumers. If affects us all.

What are your principles?

The right to satisfaction of basic needs, the right to safety, the right to be informed and the right to choose are just a few of our guiding principles.

Can I log a complaint with the society?

We do receive complaints from the public on a regular basis. We solve the issue to the best of our ability by serving as a mediator between the retailer and consumer. If the case proves too complex, or needs greater lobbying and resources, we often redirect the matter to the Department of Economic Development and other consumer protection organisations. Although we are not an official government body, our intention is to work within the community to change attitudes.

We can be reached at our office on 06 556 3888. You can also e-mail us at uaescp2010@gmail.com

* Jeffrey Todd

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