Dubai retailers fined for offering fake discounts

Various stores fined up to $68,000 for cheating customers; tourists particularly targeted

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai said on Sunday it has handed out fines of up to AED250,000 ($68,000) on shops offering fake discounts.

It did not name and shame the retailers but said "various stores in Dubai" had been fined for manipulating sales and promotions licences granted to them.

The stores were found to have violated the provisions for obtaining such permits and presenting wrong information on the discounted prices displayed, the DED’s Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection Division (CCCP) said in a statement.

The DED said the crackdown was part of its vigil "to maintain the reputation of Dubai as a business and tourism destination, ensure full transparency in business transactions, and control commercial fraud and its negative impact on customers".

The DED formed a special "double check" team earlier this year to verify data provided by companies against the price list approved by DED.

The team examined more than 16,000 products during the first half of 2012, and seized at least 800 of them that were being sold in violation to the data provided to DED.

The team was created after it was found that a number of stores had been providing inaccurate data and misguiding customers, especially tourists, claiming that they are offering up to 75% discounts.

Omar Bushahab, CEO of CCCP division, said that the DED will not allow anyone to jeopardise Dubai's reputation.

"The offenders have signed a pledge not to repeat the offence, and will compensate all those affected by their fraudulent practice," he said.

A committee has been formed to review future price requests from violated companies, he added.

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: baffydedo

In all 'civilised' countries retailers have rules to follow regarding sales.
SUch as ' the item must have been sold at the full price for x number of days prior to the sale'
So no really - there must be rules and laws governing this becuase to suggest that the items in your store have 50% off - and really you haven't knocked anything off is fraud.
And you are assuming that all the consumers who enter this shop have been before and kow that they haven't knocked even 1 DH off the price!!

Posted by: Paul Hegarty

Contrary to the opinion of the board this is an unnecessary measure and part of the whole farcical procedure if a retailer wants to have a sale.

Sales are part of product cycle, they are needed to keep a retailer buoyant and in business. Having to apply for a license and then submit the items discounted is needless bureaucracy and harms retail commerce in this city.

Fines and regulation on sales are not fraud reduction measures, they only serve to provide employment in the civil service.

Let retailers have any kind of sale they want, if some want to claim 50% off and there is no discount - nobody is forcing the public to buy their goods.

The civilized consumer is not stupid and will not pay the end price if they feel they are not getting value for money, regardless if there is a red sale tag hanging from the item.

Posted by: kingkaiser

Paul, while this may be providing jobs in the public sector, businesses are NOT allowed to falsely advertise in most developed nations. The consumer does in fact have some faith in claims made; we shouldn't live in a world where businesses are allowed to lie and get away with it, especially given that you cannot name-and-shame here (unless you are a private individual, and have upset a property developer).

Sales are part of the product cycle indeed, but the retailers need to actually have sales! If you cant afford the drop in margins, then dont have a sale. Really that simple. Or give consumers the right to name-and-shame so that lying companies can be driven out of business.

Posted by: Andrew Bannister

With due consideration to all those who trade in Dubai, there is one company that I cannot do without and yet I feel constantly misled and abused on a daily basis by them. They talk offers and promotions and promises to give the best services but they charge too much. I use them daily both here and when overseas and yet they seem to take my business for granted and will stop their services to me in an instant for a non payment and yet when I ask for a report to show where, exactly where, I have allegedly spent money with them, it can take a never ending array of phone calls and emails to get a response which is exactly the opposite of the service they expect from me for payment. And how they calculate for internet expenses is a mystery that simply does not stack up. BUT, without them, my business fails, its as simple as that. And who is regulating this company ?
I do not need to name them because everyone reading this will know exactly who they are, but are they really knowing us ?

Posted by: M. Pereira

Great news indeed! I also hope DED does a check on the " special offers" made by a international supermarket chain in Deira city centre. Last week went to buy a 80 gm tin of RIO Mare Tuna and found only special offer packs of three. No single tins for sale. As I knew the price, took out a single tin from the special pack and did a price check - price Dhs 4.70. The special offer, (besides forcing me buy a minimum of 3 tins) was priced at over 17 Dhs. Well above the individual rate. Found the same two weeks ago with a dual pack of Twix chocolates. A special offer to two packs was priced higher than a single pack. Have noticed this on various occasions. So obviously, a well thought out strategy banking on our belief that its cheaper with an offer.

Posted by: Thamir Ghaslan

Lots of shady stores promotions in the region goes like this:

Summer sale! 50% off!
Winter sale! 50% off!
Fall sale! 50% off!
Spring sale! 50% off!

Really? How about you put a sign that says 50% discount all year long!

Being an avid and regular traveler to far eastern countries where these items are bought, I'd rather shop there with cheaper prices and more selections than getting ripped off here.

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Focus: 'Amazon did not come to the region for alone'

Focus: 'Amazon did not come to the region for alone'

E-commerce experts say retailers will have to up their game following...

Saudis tighten their belts for Eid in age of austerity

Saudis tighten their belts for Eid in age of austerity

Gov't cuts, which began late in 2015, are now rippling through...

New Saudi snow city tests kingdom's capacity for fun

New Saudi snow city tests kingdom's capacity for fun

Mixed-gender attraction is a rare opportunity for Saudis of all...

Most Discussed