RAK businesses told to charge approved prices or face fines



Shops and companies have been ordered to display prices prominently as part of a series of consumer protection rules introduced by Ras Al Khaimah Economic Development Department.


And lists of prices and service charges should be submitted to the department for approval in both English and Arabic, Ahmad Al Shmeili, Director of the Commercial Affairs and Licensing Section at the department, told Emirates Business.


Firms have been given a one-month grace period to provide the lists, he added.


“The department does not interfere in the pricing policy of companies,” he said.


“However, prices should not be too high. The department will stamp the lists so consumers can check that they have been approved. The lists, in both languages, should be placed in a prominent place in the shop or company premises.


“In addition prices should appear on the labels of commodities and foodstuffs and barcodes alone will not be accepted. Lists of ingredients of food products should also be provided in Arabic.”


The new rules are intended to promote competition in the market.


“Telling consumers about prices and services lets them choose the best option for them. For example, women will be able to check the prices of the different services provided by a salon before making a choice. Customers will be able to find the most competitive prices. This applies to doctors and lawyers as well,” said Al Shmeili.


The department has based the new rules on guidelines sent to the relevant authorities in the emirates by the UAE Ministry of Economy.


“Our inspectors will carry out field visits and check that the rules are being adhered to. Those who do not stick to the approved prices will be fined Dh1,000.”


All companies and shops must give customers a bill that includes details of the item or service. The department will use these bills to establish whether the pricing rules have been broken.


The department received 23 complaints about price increases last month as well as 11 complaints about commercial fraud.


“These numbers are quite high considering that most consumers are reluctant to file complaints,” said Al Shmeili. “In particular the number of complaints about price increases is very high and proves that prices are not stable.”


The department will remind businesses about the rules when they apply to renew their licences. This will ensure they are aware of the regulations and no one has an excuse, he said.



Rules of business


- Businesses have been given a one-month grace period to submit their lists of prices and service charges to Ras Al Khaimah Economic Development Department

- Lists must be supplied in English and Arabic and should be placed in a prominent place

- Goods should carry price labels, barcodes alone are not acceptable

- Ingredients of food products should be given in English and Arabic

- Violators will be fined Dh1,000