UAE’s Federal National Council passed a new federal draft law aimed at safeguarding consumer rights and keeping pace with advances in technology.
In December last year, the UAE Cabinet agreed to bolster legislation to protect the public from potential price hikes and tighten up regulations surrounding the rapid growth of e-commerce.
Once signed into a law by the President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the consumer protection law will regulate the work of suppliers, advertisers and trade agents, control price increases and ensure customers have guarantees over the quality of goods and services.
The law establishes new consumer rights, including protection of their privacy, security of their data and not using it for promotion and marketing, respecting their religious values, customs and traditions, when providing them with any commodity or receiving any service, fair and prompt settlement of their disputes and obtaining fair compensation for the damages they incur, as a result of the purchase of the commodity or using or receiving the service, as well as all other rights as set by the laws in force in the country.
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The law also stipulates providing appropriate and safe environment, when purchasing the commodity or receiving the service, and obtaining the correct information about the goods consumers buy, use, or consumes or the service they receive.
Consumers have also a right to education about their rights and obligations, and to exercising these rights in the most appropriate way to choose the goods and services available in the market, according to their wishes.
The law also authorises the UAE Cabinet to add any other rights.
The draft law says data, advertisements and contracts related to consumers must be in Arabic, but other languages may also be used.
The law covers all goods and services within the UAE, including the free zones, and all related operations carried out by suppliers, advertisers or trade agents, including electronic commerce transaction if the supplier is registered in the UAE, and without prejudice to international treaties and agreements, to which the country is a party.
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The law also lays out penalties for those who fail to adhere to government standards.
Offenders will face a jail term of up to two years and a fine not exceeding two million dirhams. Penalties will be doubled in the event of recurrence, according to the law.
The law encourages for a code of ethics for manufacturers and distributors to stick to.