The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai saw consumer complaints rising to 5,438 during the first half of 2013, a 38 per cent increase over the 3,936 complaints received during the first six months of 2012. Between the first two quarters of 2013 consumer complaints rose 27 per cent from 2,390 to 3,046, indicating an improved awareness on consumer rights and consumer protection systems among the public and retailers.
The growing prominence of Services in Dubai is reflected in the consumer rights sphere too as the sector saw a 26 per cent rise in complaints and accounted for more than half of the increase along with the Electronics (26.6%) sector. Automobiles (12.8%) and Textiles & Cosmetics (10.8%) also were the leading sectors in terms of customer feedback and complaints. The Furniture sector saw the lowest increase (3.5%) in complaints.
The highest share of complaints (1,837) was about disagreement between the retailer and consumer on the terms and conditions of sale while there were 1,161 complaints of damage and 375 regarding fraudulent practices. Other complaints were mostly regarding fees and exchange and charging more than the advertised price attracted the lowest number of complaints.
Abdul Aziz Bin Hathboor, Director of Consumer Protection at the Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector, in DED commented: “Consumer awareness in Dubai is definitely on the rise and the workshops and campaigns being regularly conducted by the Department of Economic Development have contributed substantially to encouraging consumers to raise issues and seek solutions.”
Bin Hathboor added that DED has also opened more channels for consumers to speak up and make smart purchase decisions. “The Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection sector reaches out to consumers across all available platforms including social media. Recently we have also launched Sallety.ae, a web and App interface where consumers can search for products and compare prices in real time and also make online complaints. ”
Consumers can also log their complaints on the website www.consumerrights.ae , call Ahlan Dubai on 600 54 5555 or reach CCCP on the Twitter handle @dubai_consumers.
“In most cases the complaints we receive are disposed of within four working days. Subsequent to launching Sallety.ae we expect to receive a stronger feedback from traders and consumers and from our side we will conduct more awareness programmes not only in the malls and leading outlets but also in the traditional markets,” Bin Hathboor said.
Omar Al Mehairi, Director of Development and Follow-up at CCCP said that that DED maintains an active interface with consumers as part of the efforts to maintain a vibrant and healthy retailing environment in Dubai. “Our teams speak to consumers and the feedback we received during the second quarter of this year show that 88 per cent of the consumers are satisfied with their retail experience as against 85 per cent in the first quarter.”
“Consumer feedback also helps us understand gaps and improve service standards by talking to retailers and enhancing their awareness in critical areas like consumer satisfaction and combatting counterfeit products,” added Al Mehairi.