The Ministry of Commerce and Industry received more than 4,000 complaints about violations such as substandard goods and illegally hiked prices since the beginning of Ramadan.
“Reports from citizens and expatriates about violations of market regulations this Ramadan account for a 200 percent increase compared to last year,” an official source at the ministry said.
The source attributed the increasing volume of complaints to the quick response of the ministry to the complaints, Al-Eqtisadiah reported yesterday.
“The complaints, which came to the ministry from all parts of the Kingdom, are mainly about counterfeit goods, high prices, expiry of validity date, contract disputes and refusal to replace goods sold,” the source said.
The complaints covered all types of goods including food items, it said.
It added that 70 percent of the complaints were received on the hotline set apart for the purpose at the ministry, while 5 percent came on mobile phones. Some complaints were tweeted.
He added that the photos appearing on mobile phones about the scenes of a violation were helpful in investigations. He said the ministry was acting vigorously on these reports and appreciated the role of citizens in serving as the ‘eye’ of the ministry in monitoring the market.
“Complaints about imitation, price hiking and goods with expired dates are instantly forwarded to the Prosecutions and Investigations Commission (PIC). On the other hand, contractual disputes and other simple disagreements between contending parties are settled in a cordial manner at the ministry,” he said.
In a move to protect consumer interests, the ministry recently announced its plan to publish the names of those who are involved in violations of regulations on social networking sites.
An earlier report quoted a source as saying: “The ministry is determined to continue publication of the names of violators of market regulations, against whom court orders are issued. It also continues publishing verdicts made by the Court of Grievances against companies that harmed consumer interests. Their names will be published in newspapers.”
The source said steps to publish the names of those involved in commercial frauds, cover-up operations and illegal price hiking in all parts of the Kingdom are currently under way.
“No negotiations will be made with those against whom any court has issued punishment. A court order is final,” he said, adding that the punishments vary depending on the gravity of violations.
“The ministry adheres to the rules governing publication of violators’ names, as the commercial frauds and cover-up regulation stipulates the publication of the verdicts issued by the Court of Grievances against a violator,” the source said.
When the ministry receives a complaint, it forwards it to the PIC, which undertakes the investigations in the matter and submits the case to the Court of Grievances, he said.
The ministry’s publication of names of those who commit commercial violations is in line with a royal order related to the issue.
The ministry also made awareness advertisements warning customers about counterfeit goods and other illegal practices with the aim of protecting the interests of customers.
The ministry made it clear on an earlier occasion that it was the duty of the ministry to protect consumers from misleading advertisements issued by traders and commercial centers. The ministry, which commended the discount sales offered by various commercial establishments in Ramadan, warned against any dishonest practice in such sales.
The source also said a consumer has the right to return an item with an invalid sell-by date and get a fresh product apart from taking legal steps against the violator of regulations.
From : Arabnews