Scammers in UAE offer 'incredible discounts' to unsuspecting residents  05/17/2019 22:01:00   Afkar Abdullah

Scammers in UAE offer 'incredible discounts' to unsuspecting residents

Afkar Abdullah

Filed on May 18, 2019 | Last updated on May 18, 2019 at 07.03 am

Are you one of those residents who has had enough of sales representatives knocking at doors offering discount coupons? You are not alone. Many residents in the northern emirates have been complaining about people knocking at their apartments offering 50 to 80 per cent discount coupons on fast foods, salon services or entertainment attractions in the UAE.

Priced from Dh50 to Dh100, residents are lured into purchasing these discount vouchers such as a 20-page booklet of fast-food chains offering 80 per cent off or buy one get two free offer by sales representatives. Only much later when they try to use these vouchers do they realise that the coupons were fake and they had been duped. Though most people are suspicious towards these offers, many are still taken for the ride.

Authorities have warned the public about dealing with these salesmen, who knock at doors in smart and elegant outfits to convince tenants that they are part of companies working for the promotion of cinemas, theme parks, entertainment and food enterprises.

People have complained that this illegal sales tool must be controlled by the authorities concerned so that innocents don't fall victims to these fake offers.

Keeping a close eyeon promotions

Ali Fadel, head of the department of trade protection at the Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD), said they have received a number of complaints about fake and misleading promotion coupons. "The SEDD is tightening its noose around such traders, companies or individuals that offer fake promotion coupons.

We have intensified inspection targeting outlets and grocery shops that are duping consumers with huge discounts - to the tune of 70 percent - which are actually not genuine," he said.

Strict measures and controls are being imposed on outlets that offer bogus discounts to attract the customers to make easy profits, pointed out officials at the Ministry of Economy (MoE) and SEDD.

"Salespersons who knock at house doors are not licensed and can only be controlled with the spread of awareness among community members - about refraining to deal with them. We will not allow anyone to cheat customers through tricks. Offenders will face legal action as well as tough penalties.

"The SDED gives its permission to conduct promotions only after they meet the set requirements. We ensure that promotions or raffle draws are genuine. Our inspectors also drive around to ensure that all shops, fast-food chains, restaurants or entertainment companies announcing discounts have obtained permissions from the bodies concerned," he added.

An official at the Sharjah Municipality also said that mobile vending is illegal and supervisors are currently following up on such consumer complaints. "The municipality has organised several awareness campaigns to educate the public about the danger of dealing with door-to-door salespersons, particularly in residential areas. The municipality will continue its inspection campaign in coordination with the Sharjah Police targeting mobile vendors and refer them to legal action," he said.

The official urged the public to call 993 to inform about the mobile vendors and illegal activities in any part of the UAE.

Ibrahim Al Ajill, director of criminal investigation department at the Sharjah Police, said they are coordinating with the departments concerned to carry out inspections targeting the mobile vendors in residential areas. "The police do not tolerate those who tamper with the security of the country and will refer them to public prosecution."

He urged the public to refrain from dealing with any type of mobile vendors and call the police when they knock at doors.

Afkar Abdullah

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