Overwhelming response from retailers for consumer rights training workshops

Published March 3rd, 2010 - 08:59 GMT

More than 1500 retail sales staff from across the various shopping malls in Dubai have received comprehensive training on the UAE Consumer Code of Rights as part of an ongoing awareness campaign entitled: “Be Right: Know your Consumer Rights,” according to an announcement from the Dubai Shopping Malls Group (DSMG).
The retailer awareness campaign which was supported by the DSMG member malls generated an enthusiastic response from retail sales staff with the turnout at most malls averaging about 200. The range and depth of questions and the initial feedback from the participating retailers also indicated the crucial need for such workshops and training programmes.
Majid Al Ghurair, Chairman, DSMG, said: “This initiative underlines the Government’s focus on the emirate’s retail sector and is in keeping with DSMG’s mission to position Dubai as a leading global mall-based shopping centre offering shoppers an unparalleled mall experience with the right retail mix. More importantly, it is a significant example of the close cooperation between Dubai’s public and private sector, which is essential for the success of any large scale project.”

“Retail is a crucial component of Dubai’s economy, and it is imperative to implement world class industry standards at all levels across the sector,” said Ms Laila Suhail CEO, Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment (DEPE). “These training workshops were organised to retailers about the rights of the consumer and ensure competition and fair trade in the market place to benefit consumers, retailers and business alike. Feedback from these workshops have given us an indepth insight into the day to day problems and challenges faced by retailers in dealing with customers and will enable us to better formulate our policies and regulations.”
Organised by the Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment (DEPE), under the auspices of the Department of Economic Development (DED) the training workshops were conducted across various DSMG member malls. The concerted move by DSMG and DEPE aims to strengthen the awareness and implementation of the UAE Consumer Code of Rights that was enacted into a law in 2006. The retailer-focused workshops were held ahead of the Consumer Rights Protection Programme, launched on March 1st 2010, in honour of the GCC Consumer Day, in order to ensure that the retail sector is fully geared to respond appropriately to customers.
Topics discussed included the rights of the consumer and the benefits for the retailer through awareness of these rights. Retailers were given a detailed presentation on the conditions they need to comply with inside the retail outlets and the retailer’s responsibilities vis a vis the consumer. They were also informed about the rules and regulations governing in-store signage and display and the necessity of having a standard store policy for all forms of customer interaction.

Mr. Tom Miles, Director of Shopping Centres, Al Futtaim Real Estate said: “The workshop was particularly informative in outlining the role played by the DED’s Commercial Control and Consumer Protection Division, in the event of a consumer complaint against a retail outlet. We as Shopping Centre Management, welcome such an initiative on the UAE retail market.”

The DED clarified that in the instance of a complaint, the consumer should first try to contact the retailer directly before approaching the DED for a solution. The DED resolution process would only start after the consumer and retailer had failed to reach a decision.

Mr. Eisa Adam Ibrahim, General Manager, BurJuman said: “One of the most significant aspects highlighted by the workshop was the need for continuous and informed communication between the retailer and the consumer. The workshop stressed that it is not only important to establish standard store policies for repair and replacement of goods or refunds; it is also essential to communicate this to the consumer at all times.”
“These workshops have been an eye opener in many ways, said Mr. Fuad Sharaf, VP, Mall of the Emirates, “because they have served to remind us once again about the significance of the consumer in the retail industry.”
The retailer-focused workshops were held at the mall cinemas during the early part of the morning in order not to interfere with normal retail business hours. They reiterated the idea that UAE laws governing the retail sector are fair to both the retailer and the consumer and that awareness of consumer rights will enable retailers to better service their customers, leading to enhancement in customer service levels in the emirate.

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