Supermarkets and other shopping outlets are abiding by a government decision to stop charging fees on credit card holders three days after it was enforced through the UAE, a senior official was reported on Monday as saying.
Random inspection of shops and retailers by the ministry of economy and local departments on Sunday showed there was no violation of the decision that took effect on July 1 and involves a Dh100,000 penalty for offenders.
“Our inspection teams visited many shops yesterday (Sunday) to ensure the implementation of the decision…they checked many invoices paid by credit cards and found that there were no violations…we have also not received any complaint from consumers,” said Hashim Al Nuaimai, director of the consumer protection division at the ministry of economy.
He said the ministry had asked all shops and supermarkets to stick posters to inform customers that there will be no surcharges on credit card transactions.
“I believe the enforcement of this decision will stimulate the local market and encourage consumers to use their credit cards to buy their needs.”
Nuaimi said some marketing outlets took an initiative and agreed to refund customers all credit card charges they had levied in the previous days.
“These fees are illegal as consumers in all other countries do not pay them…the ban is intended to safeguard the rights of consumers.”
Nuaimi confirmed that offenders would be subject to penalties ranging from Dh5,000 to Dh100,000 and warned all shops to respect the ban to avert fines.
In recent statements, another official said the ban on credit card fees is not applicable to public services, Mohammed Al Shehi, director of the ministry of economy, said the decision would be applicable only to purchase of goods from shops as it does not cover paying fees for government services.
“Government services are different from purchase of goods as they provide an extra service to consumers…the alternative is to pay cash because public services account for less than 10 per cent of goods purchases,” he said.
“Using credit cards by their owners in buying goods accounts for more than 90 per cent of their total card transactions and that is why we have issued the ban…we decided that it is not fair to collect extra fees on the purchase of a known consumer item just because the buyer does not pay cash.”