x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Shoppers not aware of rights, says consumer group

Speaking at the launch of the seventh annual Gulf Consumer Protection Day at Dubai's Meydan Hotel yesterday, Dr Fairouz said things were slowly changing but there was a "long way to go".

DUBAI // Most shoppers are not fully aware of their rights, according to the head of a consumer group.

Dr Juma Bilal Fairouz, the chairman of the Emirates Society for Consumer Protection, said people often didn't know of the help and advice available to them from non-governmental organisations such as his own.

Speaking at the launch of the seventh annual Gulf Consumer Protection Day at Dubai's Meydan Hotel yesterday, Dr Fairouz said things were slowly changing but there was a "long way to go".

"Consumers need to be much more aware about what they can and cannot do," Dr Fairouz said.

"We are working closely with the Ministry of Economy to help raise awareness of this issue but it takes time and needs constant reinforcement."

Dr Hashim Al Nuaimi, director of consumer protection at the Ministry of Economy, said one of the key aims of the department was maintaining stable prices. The ministry works with retailers to check there are no unauthorised increases, he said.

"We have a strong strategy in place to allow us to make sure there is no bad behaviour towards the consumer," he said. "Nobody is allowed to increase prices in the market without permission."

A month-long consumer awareness campaign was launched as part of Gulf Consumer Protection Day under the theme "Rationalising consumption is our objective".

The campaign is supported by major retailers and by federal and local government departments

Exhibitions, seminars, lectures, and meetings will be held in schools and universities about the issue and a call centre, which will work more than 15 hours a day, has been set up to receive complaints.

nhanif@thenational.ae