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UAE announces strict sanctions for 46 consumer protection violations

Abu Dhabi: The UAE Ministry of Economy on Thursday released a comprehensive list of 46 violations, each of which carries strict penalties ranging from Dh100,000 to Dh1 million, depending on the severity and impact. of infractions.

The violations were revealed during a briefing held today, during which the Ministry reviewed the main developments related to legislation and policies for the development of the UAE’s consumer protection system.

These include Federal Decree Law No. 5 of 2023 amending Federal Law No. 15 of 2020 on consumer protection, and its executive regulation issued by Cabinet Decision No. 66 of 2023. The briefing took place in the presence of Abdullah Al Saleh, Under -Secretary of the Ministry of Economy.

“The new Consumer Protection Law and its executive regulations represent a true milestone in the government’s efforts to develop the country’s consumer protection system in accordance with best practices. It has two dimensions: the first is the strengthening of the role of local authorities in making more effective the application of consumer protection law by granting them all necessary legislative powers, they have been given inherent legal powers to i) receive, follow up and act on consumer complaints, ii) impose administrative sanctions and fines for acts committed in contravention of the provisions of the law and its executive regulations, and iii) act on complaints filed against decisions on punitive measures,” Al Saleh said.

He continued: “The second area of ​​focus is the strengthening of deterrent measures to ensure that traders, whether retailers, traders or producers, comply with their legal obligations, to rebalance the contractual relationship between them and consumers. In this context, the Traders Obligations during the sale of a commodity or provision of a service have been elaborated, better clarified and expanded to include almost 43 obligations, which is in line with the Ministry’s strategic objectives of promoting consumer rights and welfare in order to establish and ensure a conducive and safe environment when purchasing goods or receiving services.”

Al Saleh noted that most of the obligations of traders under the new law and regulations did not exist in the previous legislation. This confirms a qualitative change in legislation that supports consumer protection and guarantees all consumer rights in the country. In addition, it contributes to the provision of services or basic products in accordance with the highest quality standards as one of the country’s objectives to improve the quality of life of citizens and residents, and in line with the vision of “We, the UAE 2031”.

“Thanks to the visionary directives of the UAE leaders, today the country has a cutting-edge legal framework dedicated to safeguarding consumer rights in line with global best practices. This occurs in the midst of consecutive legislative advances within our consumer protection system,” said the Undersecretary.

He underlined the ongoing collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Economy and its public-private partners to improve compliance with national consumer protection regulations, promote ethical business conduct, strengthen market supervision and maintain product delivery standards and first level services.

“The Ministry of Economy is currently collaborating with local government entities to develop a comprehensive system to efficiently manage and promptly address complaints. This initiative aims to increase consumer confidence and safeguard their rights in the country’s markets,” he added.

Al Saleh highlighted that the new Consumer Protection Law No. 5 of 2023 incorporates several amendments to certain provisions of Federal Law No. 15 of 2020 on consumer protection. These amendments have significantly improved the role of local authorities, strengthened law enforcement, introducing more flexible and efficient mechanisms to promote government policies aimed at strengthening consumer protection at both the federal and local levels.

For the first time, the supplier’s obligations regarding necessary spare parts and repair of goods are detailed in accordance with the nature of the customer’s demand. In addition, new mechanisms are specified that regulate the examination of products in laboratories in case a dispute arises between the customer and the supplier regarding the quality of the products. This enhances deterrent measures that help guarantee the supplier’s obligation and consumer rights. For the first time, a period of seven to 30 days has been determined to guarantee the supplier’s obligation to provide spare parts or substitute goods, if a defect is found in the goods supplied.

Al Saleh discussed the new detailed list of sanctions and administrative fines for consumer protection violations. It includes a total of 46 types of violations, ranging from a fine of Dh100,000 to Dh1 million. For example, a fine of Dh250,000 will be imposed on the supplier for failure to repair, maintain, provide after-sales services, return products or refund within a certain period after a defect is discovered. A fine of Dh200,000 is imposed on the supplier in case of non-compliance with health and safety specifications, standards and conditions.

In this sense, Al Saleh explained that sanctions ranging from reprimands to fines will be applied. In some cases, they could lead to cancellation of the license or deregistration in the event of a repeat offense. These sanctions also contribute to the protection of consumer rights in the country, reducing the litigation process for consumer protection since they cover all types of violations in this regard.

He said: “Under the new law, a new provision has been inserted which mainly highlights that traders will not only put a selling price on the goods but will fix the price of the products per unit. This ensures the highest levels of transparency in pricing, thus avoiding misleading offers. “It also allows consumers to choose from a variety of alternative products and compare prices effortlessly.”

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