The Executive Regulations of Federal Law No. 15 of 2020 on Consumer Protection have recently been enacted through Federal Cabinet Resolution No. 66 of 2023 in the United Arab Emirates. These regulations, which took effect on 14 October 2023, offer crucial insights into the Consumer Protection Law (Federal Law No. 5 of 2020) and introduce new provisions to safeguard consumers.
Here are the key highlights of these regulations:
1.Protection Against Harmful Terms: The regulations identify terms and conditions that could harm consumers, such as unilateral interpretation or amendments to contract clauses, unilateral contract termination by the provider (provider being any legal entity offering services or products to consumers) and denying compensation for provider breaches. These conditions, whether in contracts, invoices, or any related documents, are now declared null and void.
2. Labelling and Invoicing: Article 3 of the regulations specifies the information that must appear on product packaging, including product nature, components, origin, production date, shelf life, storage instructions, usage guidelines, and consumer age suitability, especially for children, disabled, and elderly individuals. Invoices provided to consumers must also meet stringent information requirements.
3. Used or Refurbished Goods: Providers of used, refurbished, or defective goods must transparently convey the condition of the items without misleading consumers. This information must be included in contracts and invoices.
4. Combatting Misleading Advertisements: Article 8 defines deceptive descriptions, including misrepresentations regarding goods’ nature, origin, and intellectual property. Fines of up to AED 250,000 are stipulated for such misleading descriptions.
5. Warranty Provisions: Providers must furnish upfront warranty documentation, specifying the warranty period, which should align with the nature of the product or service or as agreed upon with the consumer. After-sales service and spare parts provision within set timeframes are mandatory. A written mechanism in Arabic for these services should be made available to consumers.
6. Price Transparency and Consumer Rights: Businesses are required to display clear and legible prices for goods and services. They must also explicitly state their acceptance of consumer discount cards and the associated discount values. Adding extra charges when consumers pay with credit cards is prohibited. Businesses must notify consumers of any applicable discounts within the week of purchase. Failure to do so allows consumers to claim the price difference within 30 days. Temporary measures to control abnormal price increases may be taken upon a Ministry of Economy resolution in crisis or unusual circumstances, considering factors like inflation rates and energy prices.
7. Handling Consumer Complaints: Article 35 outlines the procedure for submitting consumer complaints, with competent authorities mandated to respond within a defined timeframe based on the nature of the complaint.
8. Regulations for E-Commerce: The regulations place responsibilities on e-commerce providers in the UAE. Article 40 specifies the information format and presentation requirements for consumers, complying with relevant rules, laws, technical regulations, and approved standards. E-commerce platform providers are also held accountable for product defects when third parties use their platform for sales.
These regulations strengthen consumer protection in the UAE by ensuring fairness and transparency in transactions and safeguarding consumers against misleading practices.
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