The UAE government has a robust legal mechanism that allows the authorities to intervene and protect consumer rights from any exploitation, greed, or illegal price increase, the Minister of Economy, told members of the Federal National Council (FNC).

During the FNC meeting on Tuesday, Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, said, "The Consumer Protection Law grants the minister authority and the right to intervene to protect consumers, especially in cases of emergency crisis, by setting the prices of any product according to economic and profitable determinants that serve the consumer and ensures no loss made by the trader or service provider.

"In this regard, the ministry monitored and controlled prices for more than 200 products during the last nine months, in an impartial manner and in accordance with international standards."

Al Marri was responding to questions raised by Hamad Ahmed Al Rahoumi, first deputy Speaker of the FNC, on why some commercial establishments and non-commercial institutions make their customers pay additional fees for using credit cards while purchasing a commodity or getting essential services, which is illegal.

Al Rahoumi said the practice has become an increasing phenomenon, which requires strict government measures.

“I have received many complaints about shops and commercial establishments charging additional fees to customers who pay using credit cards which is unfair and violates the law,” he said.

“The ministry should put in place deterrent measures against those traders and firms applying this illegal system because of the real harm it entails on consumers, including citizens, residents, and tourists inside the country.”

Al Rahoumi explained that the illegal practice would negatively affect the country’s reputation among the millions of tourists and visitors who come to the UAE for shopping and holiday if they are made to pay these fees unjustly when they use credit cards.

However, the minister refuted the claims that there were many cases related to the imposition of unauthorised additional fees on customers by commercial establishments when paying with credit cards.

“There might be very few cases some individuals doing so illegally in some small outlets. But these are always being dealt with by the ministry and necessary measures are taken when caught because it violates the law,” said Al Marri.

“The ministry monitors consumer complaints in coordination with the local departments of economic development and business partners across the country, classify these complaints and make necessary investigations to establish the truth and legal action is always taken against errant traders.

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