Practical Summary: Federal Law No. 15 of 2020 on Consumer Protection Law
January 28, 2021
By Mustafa Khalid
Covid-19 has had a profound impact on consumer behaviour in the UAE, with an increasing number of transactions now completed from the safety of home. While this change has led to e-commerce growing exponentially in the UAE, such an unprecedented rise has also presented regulators with a new set of challenges, particularly in the context of consumers’ seeking to enforce their rights in e-commerce transactions. For instance, a total of 59,130 consumer complaints were received by Dubai Economy’s Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection Sector during 2020, an increase of 51 per cent compared to the 39,113 received in 2019.
Federal Law No. 15 of 2020 on Consumer Protection
The new Federal Law No. 15 of 2020 on Consumer Protection (the “Consumer Protection Law”) issued on 10 November 2020 attempts to address, amongst other things, the abovementioned issue pertaining to e-commerce transactions. It does this by expanding its application to all goods and services provided within the UAE (including in free zones) as well as e-commerce service providers who are registered in the UAE.
Provision of Data to Consumers and Competent Authorities
As per Article 25 of the Consumer Protection Law, e-commerce service providers who are registered in the UAE are now required to provide consumers and the competent authorities in the UAE with their name, legal status, address, details of the licensing authorities along with sufficient information in Arabic on the products and services that they provide (including specifications, terms of contracting, payment and warranty terms).
Protection of Consumer Data
Additionally, as per Article 4(5) of the Consumer Protection Law, suppliers and businesses are now obliged to protect consumer’s privacy, avoid using consumer data and information for marketing and promotion, and protect consumers religious values, customs and traditions when providing a commodity or service. With the new requirements coming into force, e-commerce service providers in the UAE will now have to look at dedicating more resources to data protection compliance.
The Consumer Protection Law substantially increases penalties for violations by suppliers. For instance, refusal to replace or repair a defective good or re-provide a service without charge in the event that there is a defect in the product or service provided can attract a fine of at least AED 10,000 and up to AED 2,000,000 along with the risk of imprisonment of up to 2 year. The same penalties also apply misleading advertisement of products or services. Additionally, any supplier who does not furnish invoices, data, advertisements and contracts in Arabic (along with versions in any other languages which may be used at the supplier’s discretion) will be subject to a fine of at least AED 2,000 and up to AED 200,000 along with the risk of imprisonment for a term not less than six months.
For repeat offenders, the above-mentioned penalties can be doubled by the Ministry of Economy.
The Consumer Protection Law aims at providing ample protection for consumers in order to reinforce their trust and confidence in the UAE market and on e-commerce in particular. The provisions discussed above highlight the UAE’s efforts to build and increase trust and confidence between consumers and suppliers in the Covid-19 era and appear to align with the country’s general aim to transition into a digital society.
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 Mansoor, Z., 2021. Dubai Economy Receives 59,130 Consumer Complaints In 2020. [online] Gulf Business. Available at: <https://gulfbusiness.com/dubai-economy-receives-59130-consumer-complaints-in-2020/> [Accessed 26 January 2021].
 It is reiterated that these requirements do not apply to e-commerce transactions that take place between customers and e-commerce service providers based outside the UAE.