Qatar’s Ministry of Economy of Commerce (MEC) has instructed 56 shops in and around Sealine Beach to lower their prices following a surprise inspection campaign over the weekend.
In a statement on its website this week, the MEC accused some 20 eateries, 24 motorcycle and quad bike rental shops, 10 shops that sell wood and two shops that offer travel gear of over-charging beach-goers.
In its statement, the MEC explained that it grants “temporary licenses” each winter season to shops at Sealine in coordination with the Ministry of Environment (MOE).
These shops rent out areas for a small fee, in exchange for providing services at appropriate prices during camping season.
”The violating shops were obligated to amend their prices, so they’re suitable for everyone, according to the agreement with (the ministry) and offer required services to all consumers,” the MEC said, continuing:
“They were also required not to change or increase the prices of services or their qualifications without obtaining necessary approval from the designated authorities in the Ministry.”
However, a MEC spokesperson told Doha News that the shops were not fined, because they have to be warned before monetary penalties are implemented, according to laws and regulations.
The ministry added in its statement that it would stand firmly against those who don’t abide by the laws and regulations to protect consumers, and that it would step up inspection campaigns to catch violators.
The MEC’s announcement came after Al Raya published a report on Sunday about high prices at Sealine.
The article quoted beach-goers as saying that a small bottle of water cost QR5 instead QR.50, while two sandwiches and two cans of soft drinks cost QR59, instead of QR20.
Visitors added that many shops in the Sealine area charge much less for their products at other branches in and outside of Doha.
Complainants acknowledged the convenience of having the shops and restaurants onsite, which saved them the time and effort of driving a long way to obtain what they needed, but demanded that the government hold inspection campaigns there to regulate prices.
In its statement, the MEC called on residents to report violations and any complaints and suggestions via a free hotline number – 1600. Consumers can also use its new app service ”How much?” or lodge complaints via e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org, or on social media on MEC’s Twitter account, @MEC_QATAR.