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Editorial

Violations by Commercial Outlets

The present article deals with the violations by vendors of commercial products and services fined by the Qatar Ministry of Economy and Commerce during the preceding month.

It was revealed by the Ministry as a result of its inspection campaign conducted during the last month. The campaign was made according to the stipulations by the Consumer Protection Law of Qatar, with an aim to safeguard the rights of consumers.

The above Law authorises the Ministry to monitor commercial activities and find out if there is any manipulation in the prices or related procedures. The Ministry can also look into whether the consumer’s rights are being protected.

According to the above Law a ‘consumer’ can be a person who buys and uses a commodity or service, with or without consideration for him or for the need of his family or any person who has made an agreement concerning the said commodity or service.

As a part of the campaign, the Ministry issued orders to close the outlets and ordered fines following the regulations of the Consumer Protection ‘Anti-Commercial Fraud’ Department, which is one among the five departments.

During the campaign around 137 violations were notified by the Ministry relating to products and services.

The violations include, failure to display product details, failure to issue Arabic bills, failure to announce the prices of products, services, intentionally reducing weight in packages etc. The Ministry reiterated that it is bound to follow the guidelines specified by the Law and therefore, it will not tolerate violations and will carry on the campaign effectively and refer the violators to competent authorities.

The Ministry compels the consumers to report violations through their call centres, by email as well as social media networks like Instagram and twitter.

The public especially the consumers and those engaged in commercial activities should be aware of the violations fined by the Ministry. It has been listed by the Ministry as follows:

  • Failure to include all the information clearly, related to the displayed product;
  • Failure to issue Arabic bills;
  • Failure to use the Arabic language in declarations and statements related to the product;
  • Using false and deceptive information when describing, advertising or displaying the product;
  • Charging a price higher than the price that was declared;
  • Selling and displaying expired products;
  • Failure to announce product and, or service prices;
  • Failure to announce product and, or service prices in Arabic;
  • Failure to clearly announce product and, or service prices;
  • Failure to clearly identify service information, including its advantages, characteristics and prices;
  • Increasing the prices without an approval from the competent authority;
  • Failure to issue bills;
  • The unavailability of automobile spare parts, the delay in after-sales services, failure to provide an alternative car;
  • Issuing promotions without obtaining the necessary approval from the competent authority;
  • Issuing reductions without obtaining the necessary approval from the competent authority;
  • Not complying with the service guarantee that was carried out over a period of time suitable for the service type and the repayment of the charged amount back to the customer;
  • The imposition to buy a certain amount of a commodity or buy another commodity with it;
  • Not complying with the rules of exchange and refund of the product;
  • Increasing the prices of fruits and vegetables during the auction time without obtaining an approval from the competent authority;
  • Not complying with the charge of car parking service;
  • Reducing the weight of local and Arabic bread etc.

Among the above, most of the violations fall under the first six categories. The Ministry imposed fines ranging from QAR 5,000 up to QAR 30,000 on violators.

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