UAE bans credit card surcharge from July 1

Ministry of Economy has warned retailers in the UAE to stop charging fees on credit cards from July 1.

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy and Chairman of the Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection, headed the second meeting of the committee for 2011 which passed resolution prohibiting retailers from imposing charges on credit card usage as commission.

The committee also agreed on liberalising trade of 15 new products including detergents and washing powders, dairy products and juices, drinking water, livestock, feed, fats and oils, and the list will be sent to the cabinet for approval.

”This is strategic to reduce monopoly and exploitation, and will enhance market competitiveness,” said Al Mansoori.

The committee reviewed a report on the advertisements for fast food outlets, and recommended that awareness measures must be initiated to ensure that customers are not misled by catchy advertising and resort to unhealthy eating, especially of junk food.

The committee also reviewed a report on the status of the Call Center in the Consumer Protection Department, and another on the difference between the prices of key food items sold at cooperative societies and major retail outlets.

The committee discussed the Electronic System for Goods Monitoring which is expected to be operational during the second half of 2011. Currently, the ministry is undertaking a pilot phase with some commodities and the results will be generalised for other goods. The new system works through electronic links between the major trading centres and UAE customs ports, and can monitor the prices of 200 commodities on a daily basis.

The committee discussed a report on the increase of prices at gas stations and recommended to open channels of communication between the Ministry of Economy and all petrol stations with the participation of representatives from economic departments to identify the reasons for rise in price.

The committee was briefed on a proposal to reduce rental fees at retail outlets and cooperative societies. The committee recommended the distribution of marketing margins equally between retail outlets and consumers.

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