MENAFN - Khaleej Times
UAE- School supplies: Avoid impulsive spending
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) As private schools have started reopening and public schools gear up for the new academic year beginning next week, the Commercial Control and Consumer Protection Sector of the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai has cautioned parents to spend wisely on school supplies.
Adel Al Helou, head of the Consumer Awareness Section at the department said: "We would like to outline the role of the parents in preparing students to back to schools. In this period of time, parents and students are seen buying text books, other school requirements and paying the first installment of school fees.
"Having a look at the market, all school requirements (stationery) are available and at varied prices as per the manufacturer's country of origin and quality."
A big rush at bookshops and stationery outlets was expected these days. "On this occasion, we would like to remind parents that a planned and balanced family budget is the best solution. Some parents spend randomly while shopping or according to the circumstances presented rather than with a pre-planned budget and schedule. This (planning) should be made a month before the beginning of the academic year," he said.
"Purchases should not be made impulsively, by responding to and satisfying their children's desires. The children's mother also plays a role in the process. We support her for her strong will. She is much more capable in pinpointing the priorities on spending, and she could potentially determine what should be bought and what could be dispensed with.
"Since she is more capable in economising the household needs, she is also more powerful in overcoming the emotional consumption habits. "This will ensure that the family leads a balanced life without being extravagant."
The role of the mother was also important in guiding the children at home and creating a sense of awareness among them.
"We appeal to the parents to seek trade outlets that sell products at affordable prices and avoid items with high prices.
"The Consumer Protection Sector will give priority to all complaints related to the purchases of school requirements. We also urge book shop owners and sale outlets to assist parents by offering products at reasonable prices."
30,000 duplicate dresses of famous brands seized
More than 30,000 dresses, all copies of seven world famous fashion brands, were seized by the Department of Economic Development (DED), in Dubai in a recent crackdown. The dresses were stashed away in the warehouse of a company in International City before being sold to many stores in Dubai.
Director of the Intellectual Property Rights Protection Unit at the department, Adel Ahmed Al Majid said that when surveillance and inspection crackdowns on stores that sell fake goods at Dragon Mart intensified, a number of store owners started stocking the counterfeit goods at warehouses at the International City.
Inspection campaigns were intensified following an increase in the number of complaints lodged by legal firms representing clients who are owners of the international trademarks, he noted.
"Coordination was made with offices and action plans were chalked out," said Al Majid, adding that personnel of the intellectual property rights section met with a number of legal firm offices and told them that the department was determined to protect intellectual property rights and trademarks.
COMPLAINTS AND RESPONSES
False claim found out: A man lodged a complaint with the Consumer Complaints Section against a website from which he bought his wife two vouchers for a beauty parlour's services. When his wife went to the beauty salon, she was startled to find that the vouchers had already been used. The division contacted the parties concerned. On checking the records, it was found that the vouchers were used on an earlier date. The website operators confirmed that it was the complainant who had used the vouchers according to the data registered with them, as they sent each voucher holder an SMS stating the password he/she could use to avail of the service. The complainant was informed about the finding.
No refund if free gift is not returned:
A woman complained that a footwear shop was not taking back a pair of shoes she had bought and returning the money, though the purchase receipt stated that she could return the item and claim the money within a time limit. She also said in her complaint that the shop had given her another pair of shoes free when she bought them. The investigation showed that the shop had offered to replace the pair of shoes with another pair if she was willing. The shop said it was impossible to return one pair of shoes and retain the free pair. The Consumer Complaints Section explained the situation to the complainant who agreed to get the pair of shoes she bought replaced.
Refund ordered for flouting contract:
A woman complained against a maintenance company stating that she had signed a contract with the company under which the latter should do maintenance works in her house four times a year. However, the company reneged on its obligations and did maintenance works only twice. She was not able to reach the company. Addressing the complaint, the Consumer Complaints Section contacted the firm's manager who was told to refund her the amount she had paid earlier because of its failure to fulfil the contractual obligations.
Warranty not enforceable: A lady bought a washing machine from a home appliances shop. A year later, the washing machine broke down. She asked the shop to check the machine and fix the problem. The shop's official found that a blockage in the pipe by dry detergent caused the breakdown and refused to fix it if she did not pay Dh250 in charges, citing that the problem was caused by misuse as the washing machine was not cleaned after use. She refused to pay Dh250 for the repair on the grounds that the washing machine was still under the warranty period and she lodged a complaint with the DED. The Consumer Complaints Section contacted the shop which again pointed out that the breakdown was the result of the misuse, which was not covered under warranty. The division explained this legal position to the woman.
No replacement if item is misused:
A man complained against a furniture shop stating that he had bought a sofa set made of genuine leather. A year later, he found out that the set was not made of genuine leather. He asked the shop to replace the sofa set, which was rejected by the furniture shop. The Consumer Complaints Division communicated with both parties, after which the complainant was informed that he had been using the sofa set for the past one year. During this period, the sofa set was damaged and torn due to misuse. Hence, he was not entitled to a replacement.
Shop booked for selling duplicates: A man lodged a complaint against a shop claiming that he had bought 2,000 memory cards for Dh7,800. Having received the quantity, the buyer discovered that the memory cards were fake. When he demanded his money back, the shop refused. The Consumer Complaints Division found the memory cards to be duplicates and quizzed the shop owner who confessed to selling them. The shop owner repaid the complainant Dh7,800, and the Intellectual Property Rights Protection Department has been notified to take proper action against the shop owner.
(Compiled by Salah Al Deberky)
They were also assured that crackdowns will continue and that inspectors are ready, round the clock.
Shop booked for selling fake iPhone
A violation has been reported against a trade establishment in Dubai for selling a fake iPhone 5 to a customer.
The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai said the Consumer Complaints Section of the department had discovered, after a complaint was lodged by the customer, that the iPhone 5 which he had bought was professionally counterfeited, in a way that an ordinary consumer cannot distinguish between it and the genuine one.
Senior Manager of the Consumer Complaints Section in the Commercial and Consumer Protection Sector, DED, Ayman Bilal, said in his complaint, the consumer said he had noticed a difference in specifications and outer appearance of the phone from the genuine one. He demanded he should get his money back from the shop he purchased the phone from, Ayman said.
When checking the phone and the package it was kept in, the department was sure that the mobile phone was genuine, Ayman said. To confirm that, the department contacted the manufacturing company and gave the code number of the phone. The set turned out to be fake.
"The employees at the department contacted the two parties concerned to see the documents and confirm that the complaint was genuine," he said.
The store owner agreed to return Dh4,400, which was the price of the phone, to the complainant.
Since the phone was found to be a duplicate, a violation had been recorded against the shop.
The DED, in collaboration with the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA), launched a special service for consumers in the UAE last year to check whether the mobile phones they bought were genuine or fake. The step aims at combating the spread of duplicate goods in the markets, and protect consumers from their hazards.
The service is designed to help the consumers stave off buying imitated phones, and the consumer could ensure the source of the phone before completing the purchase, and after inserting the SIM card of the telecommunication providers in the country (etisalat or du).
The phones come second in the list of the most fake products sold in Dubai last year.
"The department has always been keen on providing the best service to the consumers according to the laws streamlining the relationship between the trader and the customer," he said.
It received several complaints and queries everyday, and the documents, evidence and legal procedures determined who was in the right.
"Eventually, the department always look forward to solving the disputes amicably, provided an agreement is made between the complainant and the person against whom the complaint is lodged," he added.
262 shops found issuing receipts with illegal phrase
As many as 262 trading establishments were caught by the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai for violating consumer protection rules by printing a notice which reads 'goods sold are nonreturnable and irreplaceable' on the purchase receipts despite being warned against it.
The Commercial Control and Consumer Protection Section at the DED said the notice was seen on the receipts in spite of the fact that such a phrase is not allowed as per the rules and conditions pertinent to consumer protection.
All trading firms had been advised to adhere to the rules and were told to remove such phrases from the bills. The firms were given a time frame within which time they had to rectify the offence. However, when the field inspectors revisited the establishments, 262 of them were found to have breached the rules and were booked.
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