An inspection campaign carried out by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) at a number of malls in Qatar has led to the imposition of fines for seven violations and withdrawal of the discount licences of three retail outlets for not complying with regulations.
In a statement, the ministry said it conducted the surprise inspection campaign in a bid to monitor the compliance of suppliers (retail outlets) with their obligations under Law No 8 of 2008 on consumer protection and Ministerial Decision No. 5 of 1984 on discounted sales.
The initiative resulted in the imposition of seven fines for missing Arabic labels and violations pertaining to discounts and promotion licences. These constituted violations of Article 7 of Law No 8 of 2008 and Ministerial Decision No 5 of 1984, the statement noted.
The MEC withdrew the licences of three outlets that violated the terms of the discount and promotion licence granted by the ministry. Inspectors from the ministry ensure that retails outlets comply with the terms of the licence.
The initiative comes within the framework of the MEC’s efforts to monitor markets and commercial activities as well as to crack down on price manipulation and uncover violations in a bid to protect consumer rights, the statement adds.
The MEC said retail outlet owners should take the initiative and adopt, without any further delay, the ‘Shop with Confidence’ mark when it comes to announcing discounts and promotional offers. The mark should be placed on invoices presented to customers, as it represents clear proof to consumers that the shop concerned has obtained the required licence from the ministry and promotions and discounts are being offered in line with applicable laws and legal regulations.
Further, the ministry warned that retail outlets that have obtained a licence should offer real promotions and refrain from fake and misleading discounts and practices that harm consumers.
The MEC stressed it would not tolerate any violations of the Consumer Protection Law and its regulations and would intensify its inspection campaigns to crack down on violations. The ministry will refer those who violate laws and ministerial decrees to the competent authorities, who will, in turn, take appropriate action against the perpetrators in order to protect consumer rights.
The statement urges consumers to compare the product price before and after the discount and promotional period. Consumers are also entitled to inspect the product label for the discount percentage as well as the actual and discounted price. Consumers should also ask for a detailed invoice with the actual and discounted price, it adds.
The MEC has urged all consumers to report violations or submit complaints and suggestions through the call centre: 16001, email: [email protected], Twitter: MEC_QATAR, Instagram: MEC_QATAR and the application on iPhone and Android devices: MEC_QATAR