UAE official government figures show that the number of consumer complaints rose sharply during the first half of the current year.
Data released by the Emirate’s department of economic development (DED) reveals that, compared to the same period last year, consumer complaints in Dubai climbed by 38 percent during the first half of 2013.
Out of the total, consumer complaints from the services sector increased by 26 percent and made up more than half of the total surge in complaints. Complaints in the electronics sector also grew by 26.6 percent. The automobiles and textiles and cosmetics sectors saw an increase of 12.8 percent and 10.8 percent, respectively, in the number of complaints.
The furniture sector performed the best and saw the lowest increase in complaints at 3.5 percent.
The retail sector was the largest contributor towards the overall consumer complaints. In general, retailers and consumers were often found at odds over the terms and conditions of sale (1,837 complaints), damage of goods (1,161 complaints) and fraudulent practices (375 complaints). Some other cases of dispute involved overcharging compared to the advertised prices, fees and exchange of purchased items.
Abdul Aziz Bin Hathboor; “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.” — Abdul Aziz Bin Hathboor, director of consumer protection at the commercial compliance & consumer protection (CCCP) sector in DED
A surge in the number of complaints does not, however, necessarily reflect falling standards of services delivered by businesses. Growing complaints signal higher awareness among the general public and retailers about consumer rights and consumer protection systems.
Today, consumers have access to multiple channels to highlight their grievances, which include social media and online complaint forums like Sallety.ae.