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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Gold and jewelry shops in Qatar face stricter rules

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Photo for illustrative purposes only
Photo for illustrative purposes only

With reporting from Riham Sheble

Jewelry stores in Qatar must clearly display the quality, components and price of all precious metals and gems for sale or face penalties under the consumer protection law, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) has warned.

Starting today, all shops have been given three months’ notice – or until Sept. 19 – to comply with a new list of regulations around the display and sale of gold, silver, diamonds, precious stones, pearls, watches and antiques, the MEC said in a circular issued in Arabic yesterday.

The regulations have been announced during what is traditionally a peak time for gold sales in Qatar because of Ramadan and the Eid holidays.

The ministry said the move is part of efforts to enforce customer rights under the Consumer Protection Law (No. 8 of 2008).

To ensure customers understand exactly what they are buying, all stores selling gold and jewelry must clearly display several details, including:

  • The carat of the gold;
  • The clarity and purity of each gem for sale; and
  • The cost of the workmanship.

Additionally, an electronic board must show the daily price of gold.

Receipts and guarantees

Other requirements include that all customers must receive a detailed receipt for all goods purchased.

The receipt should clearly state the date of purchase, receipt number, name of the shop, description of the goods (including the weight and price for gold and color and purity of gem stones), number of goods purchased, labor costs, total price and the signature of the assistant selling the items.

This receipt should be in a standardized form, as outlined by the ministry on an Arabic poster it published on Twitter advertising the new rules.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Stores are also required to give a written guarantee, with full details of the items bought and the terms of the warranty. Verbal guarantees will not be accepted, the statement said.

Before the transaction is complete, customers must also be told of exchange and refund policies.

Legal penalties

After the three-months’ grace period has expired in mid-September, ministry inspectors will start checking jewelry shops to ensure they are complying with the new regulations.

Those who are not face legal penalties, it warned.

Under the provisions of the law, offending stores can be closed for up a month, or up to three months for repeat offenses. Those caught violating the regulations can face maximum fines of QR1 million and up to two years in jail.

The ministry also urged customers to check their goods to ensure they comply with the new regulations, and to make sure they understand the exchange and refund policies and guarantees before they buy goods.

Customers can report abuses or irregularities to the ministry by calling its hotline (16001), by emailing info@mec.gov.qa or contacting officials through Twitter and Instagram.

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