In its latest attempt to outlaw fake sales, Qatar’s Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) has ruled that all shops must use a new quality mark when advertising their promotions.
The yellow “shop with confidence” logo should be “clearly and prominently” displayed on all stores’ posters and adverts to prove that the ministry has approved the promotions.
This is to boost transparency and “build customers’ trust” during sales, the MEC said in a statement this week about the initiative.
Shops that want to hold sales are already required to obtain a license that proves the goods they are discounting translate into genuine price savings for customers.
The MEC has previously penalized stores that don’t follow the rules stipulated in Qatar’s Consumer Protection Law (No. 8 of 2008).
This included fining and temporary closing stores, as well as withdrawing their permit to run promotions.
How it works
All stores must use the ministry’s new logo in promotional material that announces their sale.
This includes newspaper adverts and billboard posters, as well as on signs inside and outside their premises, the ministry’s announcement states.
The ministry’s website has template adverts that include its new mark and which can be downloaded by stores.
The bottom right corner of the sign is in yellow and includes the MEC logo and its hotline number for customer complaints.
“The presence of such trademark on an advertisement shows that the shop holds a reductions’ license from the ministry and fully complies with all standards, laws and regulations,” the MEC said.
Customers are also entitled to ask to see the price of the goods before the promotion. Additionally, the percentage of discount applied during the sale should be stated.
The ministry urged shoppers with complaints to contact its consumer protection hotline on 16001or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ministry has taken a hard line in recent years on stores that hold sales, following numerous customer complaints about bogus discounts.
Last December, department store BHS was fined nearly QR20,000 for apparently misleading customers during its sales promotion.
In a statement at the time, the ministry said inspectors found that the Landmark mall branch had had been charging more for items than had been advertised.
And in June last year, three stores also in Landmark mall were fined QR6,000 each and had their licenses to hold discounts revoked after officers found their discounts to be bogus.
One of them was the popular children’s clothes shop Gymboree.