Dubai Economy has called on merchants to be aware of the requirements, including categories allowed and conditions, for sales and promotional offers, which are a necessary and sought-after marketing tool across retailing in the emirate.
Merchants have also been reminded of the need to obtain permits from Dubai Economy, and other authorities concerned if any, and ensure transparency and integrity across promotional campaigns. Dubai Economy has also detailed the process of organising promotional campaigns and discounted sales in the Commercial Compliance Manual launched recently by its Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector to eliminate negative marketing practices and protect consumer rights.
Mohammed Ali Rashed Lootah, CEO of the Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector in Dubai Economy, stated that in addition to having a valid trade licence, obtaining a permit is also mandatory for any promotional offer. The permit ensures that the rights of both the merchant and the consumers are protected and there is no tampering with offers, prizes or draws. The Commercial Compliance Manual explains the most important elements and conditions governing sales and promotions, added Lootah.
"Dubai Economy focuses on facilitating business and permitting promotional campaigns in this regard since it has a huge and direct impact on growth in retailing, which is one of the most prominent sectors in the emirate's economy. We have seen our leadership giving great attention to this sector, and it is further emphasised in the stimulus packages announced in the emirate following the global outbreak of COVID-19. The first package worth AED 1.5 billion launched in March this year included an exemption from fees imposed on practising discounts and promotional offers for a period of three months, along with a number of other benefits. Most recently, the third package announced on the 11th July, has extended the exemption for another three months, until the end of September 2020,” said Lootah.
According to the Business Registration & Licensing (BRL) sector in Dubai Economy, the total number of permits issued for sales and promotions between 1 January 2019 and 9 July 2020 was 15,477. Among them, 2,477 were for discounts, 1,318 for special offers, and 369 for clearance sales. Permits for instant prizes reached 6,689 and raffles stood at 4,624. The data demonstrates the important role of promotional campaigns and activities in marketing and business development in Dubai.
The Commercial Compliance Manual states that before making a specific offer, a merchant must know the difference between the categories and types of such offers. Discounts reduce the price of a product or service by a certain percentage, while sale has a discount rate range (from XX% to XX%). Similarly, pre-sale and post-sale prices must be made available. Offers on the other hand denote offering another product in exchange for buying the desired product, for example, ‘buy one get one’ or ‘scratch-and-win.’
Once a permit is obtained the merchant must adhere to the details mentioned in the permit in terms of sites, types, and duration. A promotional campaign for example is required to start and conclude within a specific time and the merchant shall not start the campaign before the authorised date or continue it beyond the stated period unless and extension is granted.
Merchants are allowed to display posters of permitted promotional campaigns inside the store. However, in the case of some specific designs need special permits before they are displayed in-store.
Permits for raffles include the campaign name, raffle type, duration of the offer, campaign end date, raffle date, value and description of the prize, as well as name and contact number of the company’s representative. The raffles are held under the supervision by CCCP inspectors to maintain transparency and ensure that the winner is notified by the company in the presence of a Dubai Economy representative, with details like specified prize(s) and winner’s name. Any raffle held in the absence of a CCCP inspector is deemed illegal and Dubai Economy has the right to cancel the raffle or take legal action if required.
The manual also refers to the various stages after the raffle is conducted, including checking the raffle files to ensure that the prize is delivered to the winner within a period not exceeding 60 working days, and verifying the statement sent by the establishment about the end of the promotional campaign with all results. The statement should include the names of the winners, prize type and value, confirming that any prize not received by the raffle winner will be handed over to Dubai Economy.
Merchants wishing to conduct raffles in Dubai must cooperate with CCCP and provide all the required data to ensure the success of the system. Failure to adhere to the conditions set by Dubai Economy for raffles and related promotions will attract penalties.
Dubai Economy also urges consumers to be careful and ensure the authenticity of the promotional offer they want to explore, including the percentage of sales offered, as well as the price of the product before and after the sales. Consumers can submit their complaints through the ‘Dubai Consumer’ app available on the Apple, Google, and Huawei stores, on the Consumererrights.ae website, or by calling 600 54 5555.