Unraveling why we pay different prices for the same water bottle
Ever wondered why you’re charged different prices for the same bottle of water or can of fizzy drink at different restaurants in Dubai?
Gulf News carried out a survey recently on the price of water and soft drinks across several of Dubai’s supermarkets, fast-food joints, cafes, restaurants and hotels.
According to the survey, the price of a 500ml bottle of water of the same brand, whether local or imported, varies depending on where it’s being sold. Prices range from 90 fils to Dh8 to Dh22 for a small bottle of water. A can of soft drink is also being sold for Dh1 in supermarkets and as much as Dh20 in high-end restaurants in Dubai.
Regarding the inconsistency in prices, Abdul Aziz Bin Hathboor, Director of Consumer Protection at the Department of Economic Development (DED), said that there is no price cap applicable to cafeterias and restaurants as they are not suppliers of food and beverages like supermarkets.
“Cafeterias and restaurants are service providers and the consumer has the choice to accept the prices specified on their menu, which the consumer should check before placing an order,” he added.
While the price of goods is regulated by the Ministry of Economy, the DED said that supermarkets and grocery stores are penalised for overcharging.
Dr Hashim Al Nuaimi, Director of Consumer Protection Department at the Ministry of Economy, talked to Gulf News about the rules and regulations regarding increasing prices of products across the market.
“There should not be a big variation in prices of products across the market as all prices are not increased unless approved by the ministry,” he said, adding that the Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection at the ministry reviews all submitted proposals.
Dr Al Nuaimi also explained that specific factors play a role in the price range of products, which include the location of the restaurant and what its rent is. A small variety in prices of the same or similar products, such as water, can also be seen in the market as the year at which prices were fixed for each restaurant vary, added Dr Al Nuaimi. In efforts to control the price increase of food and drinks, the ministry has launched a year-round campaign to monitor prices.
Mohammad Ahmad Bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehi, Undersecretary, Ministry of Economy, also pointed out that a special team is working in cooperation with Dubai Municipality and development departments across the emirate to launch regular campaigns to regulate prices in the market. The campaigns also aims to guarantee consumer rights.
The Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector in the Department of Economic Development has established guidelines to resolve consumer complaints Consumers can submit their complaints by calling Ahlan Dubai on 600 54 5555.
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