Shoppers in Dubai filed 6,917 complaints against retailers in 2011, more than double the number of grievances seen the year before, according to the city’s consumer protection agency.
Shopping in Dubai is a mixed bag of limited choice, high prices and rude sales staff. The bulk of disputes seen early in the year centered on refunds and exchanges and behaviors by sales staff, the Department of Economic Development said, as stores clamped down on the return of products.
“In 2011, we had about 6,917 complaints. In 2010 we had 2,900,” said Mohammed Lootah, Deputy CEO of Consumer Protection at the DED. “There are reasons for that. We invested a lot in increasing awareness… the number increased because more people knew how to reach us.”
Dubai is now home to about 40 shopping malls. Retail accounts for around 30 percent of gross domestic product in the Emirate. But many shoppers have complained that refund policies in some of the Emirate’s stores fall short, offering tightly restricted grounds for returning goods.
Kuwait retailer Alshaya, the Gulf franchise holder for brands including Debenhams, H&M and Oasis, came under fire last year when it scrapped cash and credit card refunds across its chains in favour of store credit. The policies on refunds and exchanges vary from shop to shop.