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Customer service in Dubai and UAE

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Customer service in Dubai

Customer service in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and UAE is notoriously unsatisfactory in the opinion of many, whether dealing with retail shops, banks, property developers, servicing and repairs, or anything else you can think of. More and more companies in the UAE are trying to develop their customer service departments with jobs aplenty for those who want one, but customer service training appears to be sadly lacking for many companies. Consumer rights do exist in the UAE but in our experience are generally ignored by most companies.

  • The Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) has an "Ahlan Dubai" helpline for complaints and suggestions, tel 600-545555 in the UAE. Or email consumerrights@dubaided.gov.ae, or visit one of their offices.
  • DED offices (opening hours 0730-1330, Sun-Thu) in Al Twar / Al Tawar, Dubai Industrial City, The Dubai Mall. Head Office in DED building Deira near Union Square, moving to Business Village (BV) in late 2010 (maybe).
Standard complaint procedure in Dubai

Write down everything you do - details of time and date of phonecalls, and what was said. And always ask for the name of the person you are speaking to (don't forget to write it down). It could be useful if your issue doesn't get resolved easily and you decide to make a formal complaint.

  • If you have a complaint, try the customer service department as a first step. You might get lucky and have your issue resolved to your satisfaction, but generally you will talk to someone who will say they value your business, thank you for taking the time to inform them of your complaint, and then do nothing. This is the principle used whether you phone or send an email / letter.
  • It is generally pointless to get upset to the person you talk to initially. They are paid a pittance to answer phones and try and put people off from taking a complaint further, not to actually solve customer service issues.
  • Second step is to try and talk to the person in charge of the customer service department. They usually have some authority to actually do something to help you, but not necessarily very much. You can also try this as a first step but it helps if you have already complained to the front line first.
  • If you have a personal connection (however tenuous) to someone at a higher level of authority than the customer service department, then use that (otherwise known as wasta). Again, it's probably a good idea to have gone through the official complaint procedure first, although if you are good friends with the CEO, Director, or General Manager, then don't bother.
  • In Dubai, you can make a formal complaint to the Consumer Protection division of the Department of Economic Development (DED).
Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED)
  • The Dubai DED has an online complaint forum - look under "Consumer Protection" on their website.
  • The DED website under Consumer Protection says "DED provides all possible communication lines with consumers to keep informed of their views, meet requirements and address complaints as DED takes the responsibility to eliminate any negative behaviors that may harm our customers." Which sounds promising.
  • DED opening hours Sunday to Thursday from 0730-1330 for counters, and 0730-1430 for offices.
  • Postal address for all offices: Dubai Department of Economic Development, PO Box 13223, Dubai, UAE
  • Email address for all DED offices: info@dubaided.gov.ae
  • DED Head Office tel +971-4-2229922, fax +971-4-2225577
  • Director General Office tel +971-4-2229922, fax +971-4-2020333, email imthani@dubaided.gov.ae
  • Dubai Mall Branch tel +971-4-3827777, fax +971-4-3827700
  • Al Tawar Branch tel +971-4-6013333, fax +971-4-6013322
  • TECOM Branch tel +971-4-3754115, fax +971-4-3688990
  • Industrial City Branch tel +971-4-3755828, fax +971-4-4290206
UAE Federal Consumer Protection Law (Federal Law Number 24/2006 of the Consumer Protection)

The Consumer Protection Law of 2006 was announced by WAM (the UAE news agency) on 28 August 2006, and was issued by President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The law calls for the setting up of the "Higher Committee for Consumer Protection" under the chairmanship of the UAE Minister of Economy. Law No. 24 of 2006 reaffirms Federal Law No. 18 of 1981 and its amendments which deal with guarantees given by commercial agents, distributors, and producers on their products.

The definition of "consumer" according to the Article No. 1 of the Consumer Protection Law:

  • Consumer: anyone who attains any good or service, with or without a return in order to satisfy his personal or other needs.

Article 2

Based on the proposal of the Minister, a Committee chaired by the minister cited as “the Supreme committee for the consumer Protection " shall be established. The committee shall be formed by a decision issued by the council of ministers which shall include in its members representatives from the consumer protection societies. The said decision shall specify the competences of the committee.

Article 5

The supplier shall undertake returning or replacing any goods in instances of any defects discovered by the consumer provided that the return and replacement shall be pursuant to the specified rules in the Executive order of this law.

Article 6

The Supplier shall not offer, present, promote, and advertise any defect, fake, damaged, false or misleading goods or services that may harm the consumer's interest or health in the normal use.

Article 8

The supplier, upon offering any goods for sale, shall display the price in a clear way or shall display it in clear place over the goods shelves. The consumer shall have the right to obtain a sates invoice that includes the type and price of the goods along with any other information specified in the executive order of this law.

Article 13

The Services provider shall warrant the provided Service for a period of time that commensurate with the nature of this Service, otherwise the Service provider shall either remit the amount paid by the consumer or shall provide the Service again in the proper way. The Executive Order of this law shall specify the types of Services and warranty period for each Service.

Ethos Consultancy
  • Ethos Consultancy is a Dubai based organisation that performs customer satisfaction studies in different sectors in the UAE, including an annual Bank Benchmarking Study, and a Retail Benchmarking Study.
  • For the 2009 study, mystery shoppers visited shops in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah to assess customer service. The top five brands in the UAE were (in this order): 1. Pure Gold Jewellers, 2. Second Cup (cafe), 3. Vertu (mobile phones), 4. Chilis (restaurant chain), 5. Ford (jalopy producer).
  • If you want a job, you can become a Mystery Shopper for Ethos Consultancy. Might be appealing to shopaholics.
Last update Tuesday 12-Jun-2012. Page development 4L 5C.
Related pages
Related websites (new window)
  • www.consumerrights.ae - UAE Consumer Rights website from the Dubai Government Department of Economic Development
  • www.customerserviceweek.ae - 2010 UAE Customer Service Week, from 20-24 June 2010, organised by Ethos Consultancy. Has a couple of surveys (with poorly designed questions which you have to answer even if the choice you want isn't available), and other useful information.
  • www.dubaided.gov.ae - Dubai Economic Department website
  • www.ecomplain.ae - website to file complaints about Dubai government services and departments. In Arabic and English. Has list of contact numbers and email addresses to complain to for each department.
  • www.ethos.ae - Ethos Consultancy website

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