Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 September 2019

UAE consumer Q&As: A reader asks about incorrectly priced products

Another is unhappy with retailers' return policies.
Q: Many stores here have very restrictive return policies, offering credit at best. This seems substandard, considering most of the local chains are western affiliates, which would offer a refund in their native countries. What options do consumers have to complain about poor return policies?

A: All stores or retailers have to adhere to the consumer protection law of the UAE. All western affiliates are subject to the laws of the UAE. Therefore, any return policy, exchanges or credit offers have to comply with the consumer rights under Federal Law No?24 of 2006. The law also provides procedures to seek remedies for aggrieved consumers. Article 5 of Law No?24 relates to refunds on products or goods and it states that all suppliers of sellers should be committed to return or replace goods or products if a fault is discovered. Article 13 of the same law states that service providers should be committed to guarantee the service that he/she claims to provide within a period suitable to the nature of the transaction. If any supplier or seller breaches the provisions of law then a penalty may be imposed, not exceeding Dh10,000, by the judicial committee, with consumers entitled to compensation for personal or material harm.

Q: I've repeatedly encountered this issue in department stores: I choose my items and head to the cashier. The price tag says Dh250 for a lady's shirt. The cashier punches it but the price turns out to be Dh295. Is this considered wrongly advertised and am I entitled to get it for Dh250?

A: The law states that offering illusory prices in order to deceive a consumer or party to the contract can be penalised by a jail sentence or a fine not exceeding Dh20,000. In some cases the judge might impose either of the two. Legal actions concerning illusory promises or false advertisement are taken very seriously by the Consumer Protection Department. Therefore, filing a consumer complaint at www.consumerrights.ae or www.economy.gov.ae may assist in seeking a solution to the seller's reluctance to hand over the product at the lower price.

Q: Vouchers for places like spas or restaurants do not always obviously and clearly state that there is an expiry date. Staff do not mention it when you buy the voucher or alert you before it expires. This means you end up losing the whole voucher plus the money spent on the voucher. What rule applies here?

A: As a general rule, all products should include an expiry date on their packaging. If the product does not have an expiry date then a consumer may make reasonable inquiries as to when it is. Therefore vouchers devoid of an expiry date can be considered to be indefinite unless an expiry date is stated on the packaging.

If you have a question for Mr Elhais, email newsdesk@thenational.ae with the subject line 'Consumer Q&A'.

Updated: April 1, 2015 04:00 AM