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Terms for refunds
Unless informed otherwise, customers must have a specific reason to return or exchange an item. However, many retailers do in fact extend this option to customers if they bring back the items with a receipt and within the stated timeline.
Customers can return goods for a refund or for a repair, replacement or a credit note if the purchased item:
- Has a fault that wouldn’t normally have been detected at the time they bought it (hidden fault).
- Is not the same as described by the salesperson, or on a label or sign, or in an advertisement, or does not match the sample that they were shown.
- Is not suitable for the customer’s intended use as described by the salesperson before they bought it.
In the event that a sold product turns out to have a defect, in theory it would be the responsibility of the retailer to resolve the issue, either by repairing the item or replacing it. However, there is no guarantee this will happen if the customer does not have the one-year warranty card as well as the receipt that came with the original purchase.
While the law mentions that retailers must offer customers the option to return or exchange products in case of issues, the timeline within which the customer must act depends on individual store policy.
Looking at some of the electronics super-brand stores in the UAE, customers usually have only five days to exchange or return an item, as long as the packaging has not been opened and also that the customer has an original receipt and warranty card. It’s also important to note that customers are required to return the item at the exact store location they purchased it from.
The federal law also applies to online retailers, given they are a UAE-based website. Taking up a case with an online retailer outside of the UAE may prove more difficult.
Online retailers that deliver to the UAE offer customers a bit more time to return or exchange an unused product (items must be sent back within 14 days of delivery and in original packaging). This process is actually more convenient as it allows customers to contact customer service who will then arrange for a pick-up of the item from the address on file (this shipping is free of charge). If customers are unsatisfied with any items, refunds would be given only in the form of coupons (store credit). However, there are exceptions such as Souq.com which offer customers a full refund if the item is sent back in it’s original state, along with the packaging and bar code in tact.