Consumer protection begins with yourself

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Consumer protection begins with yourself

Check product labels carefully and educate oneself on preventive health and fraudulent activities

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Published: Wed 16 Oct 2013, 11:49 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 6:38 PM

The need for a tighter consumer protection law is increasing day by day in view of the growing openness in the world economy and a quantum leap the UAE has had over the past decades.

The qualitative shift in the country’s profile has resulted in an upheaval in the social life as well. Many things have changed, including customs, consumer patterns, access to sources of food, ways of cooking and presentation. The other big changes are an increasing dependence on fast food or ready-to-cook meals, expansion of economic exchanges and illegal production and distribution methods pursued by some establishments to make maximum profit disregarding the rights of the consumers, Khalid Darwish Al Boom, Senior Director of the Promotion Events Control Section at the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai, said in an article.

Hence, the consumer is caught in a web of confusion – which items are genuine and which are the ones that flout commercial and consumer laws.

The Commercial Control and Consumer Protection Sector at the department is in the belief that the first step of protection begins with the consumer himself, who should protect himself by desisting from unnecessary and impulsive spending, without considering the needs and financial potential. This can be done by rationalising consumption and spending, Al Boom said.

The consumer should ensure and verify the validity of any product by checking the information and prices, and educate himself on preventive health and commercial and economic aspects of production and supply.

The second role is that of the bodies authorised that have to enforce the laws regarding consumer protection, competition and quality and organisation of trade activities. They also have to propose measures to be adopted from time to time, monitor the prices of products during the stages of production, sale and consumption. The other responsibilities played by these entities include keeping a watch on basic or strategic services, combating fraud, and interacting with the media about the market conditions. All these roles, if they are followed in true spirit, will support the purchasing power of the consumer indirectly.

The key to consumer protection revolves around the law and economy, as the law regularises the attitude of the consumer and the producer to ensure justice is done, while the economy brings to light how the efforts are directed to optimise utilisation of the available resources in order to achieve the highest level of meeting the needs of the consumer and allowing the producer to make the biggest possible profit, Al Boom said.

Thus, there is an integration of fair justice and financial satiation. The economic nature of the consumer protection law is streamlining the economic activity, which is manifested in the consuming process from the consumer’s side on one hand and the different processes that lead to such an act (production, distribution, marketing and sale) on the other, he explained.

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