Firms warned against distributing illegal advertisement flyers

Filed on May 8, 2014
Firms warned against distributing illegal advertisement flyers

many of the companies practicing this donít either have the necessary licences to conduct their trade or the required permits to distribute these advertisement pamphlets.

Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED) has called on all companies operating in the emirate to put the consumer protection logo on all advertisement flyers. The move comes in the backdrop of the practice of distributing advertisement flyers illegally — under the doors of homes, pasting them at the entrances of residential buildings, or tucking them under the windscreen wipers of cars.

Complaints & Responses

Illegal advertisement brochures: A man complained against a trading shop claiming that the shop often tucks its advertisement pamphlets under his car’s windscreen wipers.

The complaint has been moved to the Field Control Section to verify it and take necessary action.

Overpriced soft drinks: A man lodged a complaint against a restaurant claiming that the eatery sells soft drinks at Dh3, despite the Dh1.5 tag on the can.

The complaint has been referred to the Field Control Section. The section said that the restaurant could be fined if proven guilty.

Smart phone broke down in a week: A man lodged a complaint with the DED claiming that a Samsung Galaxy S4 smart phone he bought from a trading shop broke down a week later. 
He wanted the shop to 
either fix or replace the faulty phone.

The Consumer Complaints Section contacted the shop, which agreed to repair the phone. The complaint was thus closed.

(Compiled by Salah Al Deberky)

When the DED conducted a study on this practice, it came to light that many of the companies practicing this don’t either have the necessary licences to conduct their trade or the required permits to distribute these advertisement pamphlets.

The DED has expressed “concern” over the practice and urged companies to print their permits in their promotional campaigns in newspapers, magazines, brochures, web portals and broadcast media.

The DED believes that publicity and advertising in this age is significant. This has prompted companies to fund research studies with the aim of studying the best ways to influence the consumer, and push him to select a certain product despite a wide range of options.

Advertisement is a “socio-economic industry” and its objective is to influence the consumer to spend on a particular product even if the product may not really be the best in quality.

“We believe that such kind of promotion of products and services (through il legal flyers and pamphlets) which many companies resort to is to reach the consumer in the most cost-effective way possible. We call on companies to abandon such types of advertising, and move towards promoting their products through audio-visual and print media,” said Waleed Abdul Malik, Director of Commercial Compliance at the DED.

Complaints about such illegal ways of advertising were lodged with the DED, he said. He appealed to firms to advertise in the conventional manner with details on pricing as well. Advertisements, he said, should let the consumer buy a product at his own convenience. He appealed to companies to follow the optimal and legal way for advertising.

Abdul Malik also called on the consumer to “control and restrain” his consumption and spending attitude, and to not fall to advertising gimmicks. “I urge the consumer to identify the specification of advertised products, and realise the importance of checking the packets before buying them in terms of validity, content and price.”

He called on the consumer to lodge a complaint with the DED if he witnesses any discrepancies.

Building a bridge between policies and public

How does one interact with consumers, inform them and explain state policies to them so that they are able to make the best use of them? This is where the Department of Economic Development’s (DED) development and follow-up division comes in.

Created to improve the relationship between the commercial compliance and consumer protection division and consumers, traders and suppliers, the division has grown as a managerial concept over the last four years.

Its objectives are building a bridge of confidence and interaction with customers by providing them with accurate and authentic information, explaining new laws as well as any changes to or amendments in existing statutes.

Besides informing consumers of their rights, the division also stays in touch with the commercial compliance sector, advising its officials on current public reactions to existing policies and anticipated ones to future policies.

The development and follow-up division’s work can be monitored through info media which provide information to consumers, traders and suppliers on state laws and regulations as well as executed and upcoming projects. Its duties also entail providing policy and decision makers with the information available on public opinion and reactions.

The interpretative function of the division goes further. It presents the vision in pursuing a policy or taking a specific decision, including causes and the anticipated outcome.

The overall responsibility is to convince the public of the need to take certain measures and provide evidence substantiating the need to take such decisions or pursue such policies.

The evaluating function includes preparing reports, analyses and studies. These documents provide in-depth assessment of the results of state policies and plans and gauge public opinion on them. Besides, the division maintains and classifies official documents, decisions and statements.

It also works as a facilitator, welcoming and accompanying visiting delegations and facilitating their stay in the country. It liaises with the media and organises meetings, symposiums and conferences. The division also arranges meetings between the media and government officials.

As told by Omar Al Muhairi, director, DED’s development and follow-up division

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