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Shopping plays a big role in everyday life in this part of the world, whether you're looking for top designers, high-street stores, souks or supermarkets.

Consumer rights

Consumer rights when shopping in the UAE may differ from those in your home country, so it's a good idea to find out how.

Customer service policies

Policies on refunds and exchanges vary from shop to shop. It is common to be offered an exchange or credit note rather than a refund. Even with tags attached, many stores will not even consider an exchange unless you have the receipt. If you’re having no success with customer services, ask to speak to the manager, as the person on the shop floor is often not authorised to deviate from standard policy whereas managers may be more flexible.

Food control

Consumer rights departments are also responsible for dealing with quality complaints when it comes to food. In Dubai, the Consumer Rights Unit at the Economic Development Department primarily deals with unfit food, but can be contacted to report faulty goods or to complain if a guarantee is not honoured. The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority primarily deals with unfit food and any cases of reported food poisoning, while the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council investigates faulty products. For the other emirates, your municipality is the place to turn if you have a food-related complaint to file.


The Dubai Government’s consumer rights website consumerrights.ae provides tips and further information, which might be useful if you’re planning a shopping trip.