Question: I acquired a pre-owned vehicle directly from the previous owner after noticing his advertisement on an online classifieds platform. I recently discovered that the vehicle had been significantly damaged in an accident, a fact the owner did not reveal to me. Unaware of this history, I paid the owner the prevailing market value for the vehicle. In this scenario, do I have grounds for legal action against him? Are there any steps I can take? Do warranty regulations or consumer protection statutes apply in this context?

Answer: In the UAE, it is mandatory for the seller to furnish accurate and complete information about the product they intend to sell. This requirement is detailed in Article 6(1)(e) of Cabinet Decision No. 66 of 2023, which pertains to the Executive Regulation of Federal Law No. 15 of 2020 on Consumer Protection. This article specifies that the seller must issue an invoice that substantiates the transaction, including details such as the seller's name, address, and contact information; the date of the invoice; a description of the commodity or service; the unit of sale, quantity, or number of units sold; the condition of the commodity if it is used; the price in local currency; the warranty period; the delivery date of the commodity or provision of service; the serial number of commodities and contained parts; the commercial registration number; and the tax number, if applicable.

Additionally, Article 8 of the same Cabinet Decision stipulates that advertisements or offers for goods or services are considered deceptive if they include misleading claims that could mislead consumers. This includes misrepresentations regarding the nature, composition, source, authenticity, manufacturing process, production date, expiry date, terms of use, warnings, country of origin, terms and procedures of contracting, awards, certifications, trademarks, statements, logos, characteristics of the commodity or service, and expected results of their use.

Under Addendum 2 of the Cabinet Decision, individuals found guilty of misleading advertisements regarding prices may face fines up to Dh100,000. Article 12 of the Federal Law No. 15 of 2020 further states that if a defect is discovered in the product or service, the supplier must repair or replace it, return the product and refund its price, or re-perform the service without charge, as specified by the implementing regulation of the law.

Given these provisions, the seller is obligated to provide accurate information at the time of sale. You may seek compensation under the Consumer Protection Law. If you encounter issues with the vehicle, you can request the owner to cover the repair costs. If the owner refuses, you can lodge a complaint with the Consumer Protection Department at the Department of Economic Development in your emirate or the emirate where the purchase was made. If no amicable resolution is reached, you can file a lawsuit against the seller in the UAE court, seeking appropriate monetary compensation. If the vehicle is still under manufacturer warranty at the time of the accident, you may be eligible for repairs under the warranty terms.