Due to misleading sales offers, three stores in Qatar’s Landmark Mall have been fined QR6,000 each and have had their licenses to hold such promotions temporarily revoked.
Officials from Qatar’s Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) withdrew the permits from the shops – one of which is believed to be the children’s clothing store Gymboree – after officers doing spot-checks earlier this week found their discounts to be bogus.
The ministry announced the penalties in Arabic on Twitter. Accompanying photos show staff at a store understood to be Gymboree removing promotion signs from the displays. The MEC did not name the shops that have been penalized.
الوزارة تفرض غرامات مالية وتلغي تراخيص التنزيلات لمحلات بمجمع اللاندمارك لعدم التزامها بالقوانين المنظّمة للتنزيلات. pic.twitter.com/O9AwPPxY0j
— وزارة التجارة والصناعة (@MOCIQatar) June 18, 2015
Translation: The Ministry imposes fines and and revokes sales licenses for Landmark Mall stores for failure to comply with laws governing sales.
The shops were penalized for breaching Article 7 of Law No. 8 of 2008 on Consumer Protection, local media reports quoted an MEC statement as stating. The law mandates that stores clearly state on labels and signs all information about the items it is selling.
In a statement, the MEC said it found that the shops had given misleading information about the discounts on some products.
“Some shops may be offering promotions and attractive rates because the quality of the product is inferior or in some cases they wanted to sell off goods which have close expiry dates. As such, offers may lead the public to buy things which sometimes they do not require, consumers are urged to show restraint and discretion while shopping,” Gulf Times quotes the MEC statement as saying.
Before running a sale, shops here must apply to the MEC’s Quantitative Licenses and Market Control Section of the Consumer Protection Department to get a license.
The section has the power to issue licenses to shops for promotions and discounts, and monitors those sales to ensure prices are actually reduced.
In this case, the three stores’ permits were revoked for the remainder of their existing sale periods.
No one from Gymboree was immediately available for comment, as the store was closed during the day due to Ramadan hours.
This is not the first time that the MEC has penalized stores for running misleading promotions.
In January, shops and stores in 10 malls across Qatar were booked for the offense. At the time, the ministry penalized stores for a total of 37 violations of varying types, in accordance with Ministerial Decision No. 5 of 1984 with respect to selling through sales, promotions and discounts.
The shops in this case were found to be running offers without obtaining a license from the ministry; displaying differences between the actual price and the price tags; and failing to display prices clearly.
They were fined up to QR5,000 each and their promotional licenses were withdrawn for the remainder of the sale period.
According to Qatar’s consumer protection laws, customers are entitled to ask stores to show their prices before and during their promotion period, as well as the discount rate approved by the MEC.
Customers should also be given an itemized receipt, showing the original price and then the discounted one.
Consumer who believe a store is not following the regulations can report them to the MEC via their toll-free phone number (800 5000), by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by messaging them on their @MEC_Qatar Twitter account.