GCC economies have been growing fast, incomes have been rising and new infrastructure projects are underway. The business sector is flourishing, and e-commerce industry and the wider sharing economy are gaining momentum. According to a recent study conducted by management consultancy Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company), these developments will directly impact efforts required to protect consumers against fraud, and consequently should be addressed.
The rapid development of the GCC has led to significant improvements in infrastructure, rising income for citizens, and higher levels of international tourism. All of these have increased the need for more sophisticated consumer protection. Rising incomes for example have led to a dramatic increase in consumption. Additionally, rapid growth in tourism (both inbound and outbound) has exposed the GCC to markets abroad with more sophisticated consumer safeguard regulations. All of these factors are ultimately putting pressure on GCC governments to offer more robust and effective consumer protection solutions.
Commenting on the need for increased consumer protection in the GCC, Chucrallah Haddad, partner with Strategy&, said: “Progress will depend on the governments’ attention to a few key areas. GCC governments need to look at the institutions currently responsible for consumer protection and think about how their roles need to evolve. They must have a clear understanding of when to use prevention measures versus enforcement measures by defining a clear enforcement philosophy, and make sure to involve better-informed consumers and the community in an effort to safeguard their own interests. GCC countries should also take a long-term view of consumer protection, recognizing that the challenges of tomorrow will be different from today.”
According to the study by Strategy&, there are six tenets of consumer protection in the GCC:
Further highlighting the need for consumer protection, Serge Eid, manager with Strategy&, said: “Consumer protection is an ongoing effort to keep abuses from happening, minimize their impact when they inevitably do happen, and keep a specific type of abuse that has already happened from recurring. The numerous ways in which consumers can be taken advantage of means that GCC countries must be prepared to deal with problems in different areas and keep altering their consumer protection framework. Better safeguards for consumers will allow GCC countries to accelerate the modernization of their commerce.”
© 2019 - Sun Oct 13 23:11:06 UTC 2019 PwC. All rights reserved. PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure for further details.