Refunds the top gripe as COVID sees Dubai consumer complaints up 51%

Dubai authorities received 59,130 consumer complaints last year

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DUBAI: The number of consumer complaints logged in Dubai increased 51 percent, mainly due to issues caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with refunds the main gripe among residents, officials said on Sunday.

The Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection (CCCP) department of Dubai Economy received 59,130 consumer complaints last year, a 51 percent increase compared to the 39,113 received in 2019, according to a report by WAM, the UAE state news agency.

Mohammed Ali Rashed Lootah, CEO of CCCP, said: “The growth in number of consumer complaints is also due to COVID-19 and the restricted consumer-merchant communication during the National Sterilisation Programme. We have been keen to activate communication channels with consumers, and encourage them to report any violation or challenge they faced in protecting their rights or having a pleasant shopping experience in Dubai during the pandemic crisis.”

Issues with refunds accounted for just over a quarter of complaints (25.88 percent), followed by non-compliance with the terms of agreement (18.57 percent), damage or defected products (13.13 percent), commercial fraud (9.93 percent), non-compliance with after-sales service (6.62 percent), and additional charges for the service or product (6.39 percent).

Other issues that warranted official complaint included, price hikes, shop policy incompatible with the law, non-compliance with warranty terms, refusal to repair a device, non-adherence to terms of promotional offers, price list mismatches, value-added tax, and fraudulent purchase of gold and diamonds.

“We always strive to reach amicable solution to consumer complaints, and strengthen relations between merchants and consumers through awareness programmes that clarify the rights and duties of both parties and enhance transparency in transactions,” Lootah added.

The majority of complaints (31.58 percent) related to the services sector, followed by electronics (14 percent), e-commerce (13.71 percent), furniture (8.16 percent), ready-made garments and accessories (7.95 percent), freight (5.4 percent), car rental (5 percent), automobiles (4.91 percent), textiles and personal items (3.7 percent), decoration and building maintenance (2.56 percent), car workshops (2.08 percent %), and hair salons (0.93 percent).

The WAM report said Emiratis accounted for 28 percent of complaints received, followed by Indians (12 percent), Egyptians (11 percent), Saudis (6 percent), and Jordanians (5 percent).

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