Increased consumer complaints received during the first half of this year indicates an improved awareness about consumer rights and consumer protection systems among the public and retailers, officials said.
According to the figures released by the emirate’s department of economic development (DED), consumer complaints in Dubai rose by 38 per cent in the first half of 2013 to reach 5, 438 complaints as compared to 3,936 complaints in the first half of 2012. Between the first two quarters of this year, consumer complaints rose 27 per cent from 2,390 to 3,046.
The services sector recorded a rise of 26 per cent in complaints and accounted for more than half of the total increase along with the electronics sector, which saw a rise of 26.6 per cent.
Complaints in the automobiles and the textiles and cosmetics sectors rose 12.8 per cent and 10.8 per cent respectively. The furniture sector noted the lowest increase in complaints at 3.5 per cent.
The highest number of complaints still originated from the retail sector with disagreement between the retailer and consumer on the terms and conditions of sale at 1,837 complaints. There were 1,161 complaints of damage and 375 complaints regarding fraudulent practices.
Other complaints constituted issues like charging more than the advertised prices, fees and exchange of purchased items.
“Consumer awareness in Dubai is definitely on the rise and the workshops and campaigns being regularly conducted by the DED have contributed substantially to encouraging consumers to raise issues and seek solutions,” said Abdul Aziz Bin Hathboor, director of consumer protection at the commercial compliance & consumer protection (CCCP) sector in DED.
Bin Hathboor partially attributed the rise of the consumer complaints to an increase in the number of the channels available for the consumers to speak up, such as 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,” said Bin Hathboor.
“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.”
The DED will aim to resolve all complaints within four working days, he added.