Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED) scrutinises e-commerce sales to prevent fraud and the sale of counterfeit goods through the online medium in the emirate.
UAE laws protect the rights of consumers irrespective of whether the sale transaction is completed at a physical retail store in the country or through an online portal based in the country.
The Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector in the Dubai DED has signed an agreement with Souq.com, the largest e-commerce player in the country, to further enhance consumer protection rights.
“In line with the smart governance vision of Dubai, we have expanded our vigil to the e-commerce space to prevent traders from using the online medium to promote counterfeit goods,” said Mohammad Lootah, CEO, CCCP.
The collaboration aims at introducing innovative measures to tackle problems generally faced by online businesses and ensure growing trust in online transactions among e-consumers in the UAE.
The DED’s consumer protection department has long been involved in curbing the sale of counterfeit products in the UAE and their influx in the online trade.
Actively involved in protecting consumer rights in the Middle East, CCCP says it has been working closely with Souq.com for many years.
The DED unit has also been implementing tougher measures against counterfeiting in various sectors and with the new arrangement with Souq.com, the two will ensure that “e-commerce continues to grow and improve transparency,” it said.
“We are confident that this will enhance consumer trust in the region’s thriving e-commerce sector and drive further growth of the economy,” said Lootah.
FAKE GOODS ARE A WORLDWIDE PROBLEM
Ronaldo Mouchawar, CEO and Co-Founder of Souq.com, said that the issue of counterfeit goods is not limited to this region alone, and is a worldwide problem plaguing online portals.
“Large e-commerce players in the world are also facing the same challenges and being the leader, we are bringing the best practices to address those common issues such as counterfeits, violation of intellectual property rights etc.,” said Mouchawar.
“The sheer volume of e-commerce business requires Souq.com to think of new strategies to safeguard customers’ and brand owners’ interests and exercise stricter control over certain seller engagement. Therefore, co-operation with the CCCP sector of DED is a major strategic step for Souq.com,” he said.
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) aims at jointly developing programmes for the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights and consumer rights.
“We encourage anyone with concerns or complaints to notify us immediately by contacting our Customers Services Team by phone, email or web to receive our necessary support and assistance,” Mouchawar noted.
The areas identified by CCCP and Souq.com in which CCCP will guide Souq.com are sharing of best practices, training to Souq.com employees on identifying, and tracking counterfeit goods on the platform, swift action plans to support Souq.com when sellers on the platform engage in any unfair trade practices, and establishing joint public relations and disaster recovery programmes.
DUBAI TAKES THE LEAD IN PROTECTING CONSUMERS
In November 2015, the DED had launched the ‘Intellectual Property Protection Advisory Board’ in order to clean Dubai of counterfeit products and ensure consumers buy original goods.
The move aims at bringing businesses and the government closer to combat counterfeiting and trademark violations.
The Board is aimed to strengthen Dubai’s reputation as a competitive business destination and enhance the UAE’s position across global competitiveness rankings.
“Intellectual property protection is integral to a healthy and competitive business environment. Dubai has taken great strides in recent years in creating local and global partnerships to identify and eliminate counterfeit goods,” Lootah had then said.
WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY
Under the UAE Federal Law No. 24 of 2006, consumer protection department of the Ministry of Economy and Economic Development Department in the emirates are equipped to deal with unfair trade practices.
The law ensures that the consumer protection departments can receive complaints from consumers affected and also compel the seller to replace the defective goods. They can also force the vendors to not promote unfit or harmful commodities.
Vendors operating in the UAE are obliged to comply with the required specifications and the price of the product should match the standard specifications.
The UAE law gives consumers the right to file a complaint and receive compensation for personal and financial damages as well as the right to sue the company if cheated.