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UAE-based e-commerce websites told to register with government

Waheed Abbas
Filed on March 3, 2020


Dubai - The UAE's Ministry of Economy has advised companies and individuals dealing in e-commerce to register with the economic departments in their respective emirates in order to closely monitor the delivery and quality of goods.

The initiative, which will cover cooperatives, private sector companies and individuals, is aimed at regulating the e-commerce industry to bring further confidence among the UAE consumer for the products purchased through digital platforms.

"We ask people selling goods through app and e-commerce websites to register with the economic departments. We need trust from consumers that the items that they purchased online are controlled by the government. In case of any issue with the item purchased online, customer can communication with outlet or a government body. All e-commerce trade in the UAE by private sector will be governed the by consumer protection department," Dr. Hashim Al Nuaimi, director at Ministry of Economy's Consumer Protection Department, told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the 15th GCC Consumer Protection Day 2020 held in Dubai on Sunday.

He said the UAE's Higher Consumer Protection Committee will meet on Monday to discuss the issue of consumer protection to take it to the next level as protecting consumers' rights is the common goal for the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

Industry estimates showed that the UAE's e-commerce market is estimated to be worth $27.1 billion (Dh99.45 billion) in 2022.

He added that developing the consumer protection system and applying mechanisms and initiatives to enhance the satisfaction and happiness of consumers in various markets of the UAE is a priority for the Ministry of Economy.

He revealed that the consumer happiness ratio reached 82 per cent in a recent survey undertaken by the ministry.

Ahmed Al Zaabi, director of the Consumer Protection Department at the Department of Economic Development in Dubai, said the department worked on developing an intelligent and effective system in order to deal with consumer complaints and find solutions to them.

He noted that retail sector is an essential part of the emirate's economy as it accounts for approximately 26 per cent of its GDP. Therefore, an effective system for handling consumer complaints and finding solutions to them in a smooth and friendly way is highly important.

Al-Zaabi explained that the number of consumers using the "smart protection" service system on its website increased while the consumer satisfaction also improved significantly, rising from 95 per cent to 97 per cent between 2018 and 2019.

Mohamed Khalifa Al Muhairi, chairman of the Emirates Society for Consumer Protection, said the consumer satisfaction is considered one of the basic conditions for the success of any economic establishments.

Suhail Al Bastaki, director of happiness and marketing at Union Coop, said there 18 major cooperatives, operating 170 branches in the country. The number of branches will increase to 188 as more branches are under construction. Data showed that sales across cooperatives amounted to Dh6.311 billion at the end of 2019.

Abu Bakr TP, regional director of LuLu Group, said e-commerce is witnessing good growth and the past three years have seen 72 per cent of users in the UAE moving to online purchases.

In addition, he announced the price reductions during the holy month of Ramadan between 30 to 70 per cent, covering about 10,000 products across its 80 outlets and shops.

-waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com





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