In a significant move aimed at enhancing consumer protection, the UAE Ministry of Economy conducted a comprehensive briefing session to review key legislative developments. The focus was on Federal Decree Law No. 5 of 2023, which amends Federal Law No. 15 of 2020 on consumer protection, and its executive regulation issued by Cabinet Decision No. 66 of 2023. The briefing, attended by Abdullah Al Saleh, undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy, highlighted two crucial dimensions of the new Consumer Protection Law.
Empowering local authorities
Al Saleh emphasized that the first dimension of the UAE’s consumer protection law will focus on reinforcing local authorities’ roles in enforcing the consumer protection law. Under the amended law, these authorities have extensive legislative powers, enabling them to receive, follow up, and act on consumer complaints effectively. Additionally, they can impose administrative sanctions and fines for violations of the law and its executive regulation, as well as address grievances against punitive measures.
Strengthening deterrent measures
The second focus area of the UAE’s consumer protection law involves strengthening deterrent measures to ensure retailers, traders, and producers fulfill their legal obligations, rebalancing the relationship with consumers. Therefore, the new law includes 43 new obligations for businesses. This aligns with the ministry’s strategic objectives to promote consumer rights and welfare, creating a secure environment for transactions.
Moreover, Al Saleh revealed that most of the obligations outlined in the new consumer protection law did not exist in previous legislations in the UAE. This signifies a qualitative shift in support of consumer protection. The amendments contribute to providing goods and services according to the highest quality standards. This ensures that they align with the “We the UAE 2031” vision to enhance the quality of life for citizens and residents.
Acknowledging the visionary directives of the UAE’s leadership, Al Saleh highlighted the country’s cutting-edge legal framework dedicated to safeguarding consumer rights. He also emphasized ongoing collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Economy and public-private partners. Hence, this collaborative effort enhances compliance with the new consumer protection law in the UAE, promotes ethical business conduct, and upholds service and product delivery standards.
Amendments and new mechanisms
The UAE’s new Consumer Protection Law No. 5 of 2023 incorporates several amendments to Federal Law No. 15 of 2020. First, the amendments detail supplier obligations regarding spare parts and goods repair according to customer demand. Moreover, they introduced mechanisms regulating goods examination in laboratories during disputes. Furthermore, the new law specifies a specified window of seven to 30 days ensuring the supplier’s obligation to provide spare parts or substitute goods in case of defects.
Penalties and fines
Al Saleh discussed the detailed list of administrative penalties and fines, comprising 46 types of violations with fines ranging from AED100,000 to AED1 million. These penalties cover various offenses. For example, a fine of AED250,000 will be imposed on the supplier in case of failure to repair, comply with safety conditions, or provide after-sales services. Moreover, a fine of AED200,000 will be imposed on the supplier in the event of failure to comply with standard specifications, rules, and conditions of safety and health. The penalties aim to protect consumer rights. Moreover, possible consequences include warnings, fines, license cancellation, or deregistration for repeated offenses.
Finally, Al Saleh highlighted a new provision under the new consumer protection law which requires merchants in the UAE to price products by the unit. This ensures transparency and prevents misleading offers. This provision also allows consumers to choose from alternative goods and compare prices effortlessly. Therefore, it allows consumers to make fair and informed decisions.
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