Posted on August 18, 2018

In a bid to crack down on price manipulation and protect consumer rights, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) is pursuing its intensive inspection campaigns before and during Eid Al Adha.

The campaigns target shops, malls and retail outlets specialised in selling Eid accessories. These include men and women accessory shops, readymade garments and children’s clothing, perfumes and accessories, shoes, textile shops for men and women, tailor shops, gold and jewellery stores as well as fruit and vegetable shops, sweet and nut stores, barber shops, beauty salons and car washing centres.

The Ministry is also monitoring promotional offers across markets and the subsidised sheep initiative 1439H, to ensure the compliance of suppliers (retail outlets) with their obligations under Law No. 8 of 2008 on consumer protection. Traditionally, the ministry has intensified its inspection campaigns ahead and during Eid Al Adha to monitor and regulate markets and commercial activities as well as to crack down on price manipulation and uncover violations in a bid to protect consumer rights.

The inspection campaigns, which targeted more than 1,800 retail outlets, resulted in 13 penalties. Violations included missing price tags, offering unlicensed promotions, failing to display the promotional license in a prominent place, lack of invoices, charging consumers higher than the advertised price, lack of clear product-related data, missing Arabic product labels, failing to Arabise invoices, in addition to displaying and selling counterfeit products that bear international trademarks. The Ministry urged merchants and retail outlets to comply with laws and circulars it issues and to provide high quality products and services to consumers. The Ministry also cautioned against taking advantage of events and holidays to raise prices and exploit consumers.

The ministry also urged merchants to advertise the price of products and services, to display explanatory product labels, to use Arabic in product labels and ads, to clearly label discounted products and show the price before and after the discount period, to clearly specify the service’s features, characteristics and price, to issue complete invoices in Arabic, to comply with the fruits and vegetables price bulletin, to offer a warranty for a period that corresponds with the nature of the service and to refund consumers or offer the service properly, to refrain from displaying and selling expired and substandard products, to refrain from charging consumers higher than the advertised price, to refrain from offering promotions without obtaining a license from the concerned department, to refrain from increasing prices with obtaining the approval of the concerned department and to refrain from falsely describing or advertising a product in a misleading manner.

Violations of Law No. (8) of 2008 on consumer protection result in penalties ranging from administrative closure to fines between QR3,000 and QR1m. The Ministry stressed that it will not tolerate any violations of the Consumer Protection Law and its regulations and will intensify its inspection campaigns to crackdown on violations. The ministry said it will refer those who violate laws and ministerial decrees to competent authorities, who will in turn take appropriate action against perpetrators in order to protect consumer rights.

The Ministry also aims to promote awareness among consumers about their rights and duties whereby the ministry continuously offers tips aimed at promoting consumer awareness of their rights and duties. In this context, the Ministry urges all consumers to request a detailed a detailed invoice, to check the product’s quality and to compare its price before and after discounts. Consumers should also check for product-related data such as the production and expiry date, country of origin and price. Consumers should also check for clear price tags and be aware of the data required to file a complaint against the shop or supplier.

source: The Peninsula