The Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) has launched an inspection campaign targeting a number of bookstores and school supplies shops to monitor suppliers’ compliance of Law No 8 of 2008 on Consumer Protection.
The inspection campaign falls within the framework of the MEC’s efforts to regulate and monitor markets and commercial activities, as well as to crack down on price manipulation and uncover violations to protect consumer rights.
The campaign resulted in four penalties for failing to comply with licences, increasing product prices without obtaining approval, offering unlicensed promotions, and announcing unlicensed discounts.
Violations of Law No 8 of 2008 on Consumer Protection can result in administrative closure and financial penalties ranging between QR3,000 and QR1mn.
The MEC provided awareness and guidance tips at the start of the back-to-school season as part of the campaign.
The MEC stressed that it will not tolerate any violations of Law No 8 of 2008 on Consumer Protection and its regulations, and will intensify its inspection campaigns to curb violations. The ministry will also refer violators to competent authorities who will take appropriate action against perpetrators to protect consumer rights.
The MEC also provided awareness and guidance tips at the start of the back-to-school season.
“Preparedness and pre-planning through savings represent a key shopping skill to avoid large and sudden financial burdens, particularly since the back-to-school season follows a series of events that drain family budgets.
“This year, the back- to-school season follows Ramadan, the holiday season and the summer vacation. Families can start preparing for the back-to-school season by establishing a school portfolio that it is funded by saving part of the monthly salary for school expenses,” the MEC said.
The ministry noted that expenses associated with education are divided into two categories. The first category includes school fees, the ministry said, noting that a series of factors must be taken into account when preparing for the academic year.
These include preparing a list summarising the tuition fees while taking into account fees owed by the family after deducting educational vouchers, as well as preparing a list of additional fees and costs associated with each school in addition to comparing governmental and private schools on the basis of quality, costs and privileges.
The second category includes expenses related to school purchases, such as spending on stationery that students may need throughout the year.
The MEC advised parents on how they can limit spending on stationery supplies by making purchases at major outlets where prices are lower, buying basic stationery such as pencils and notebooks from wholesale suppliers; sharing stationery that students do not use on a daily basis such as the geometric tools in addition to instilling a culture of savings among children, encouraging students to preserve necessary school supplies and making pre-purchases in anticipation of any increase in prices.
The ministry said the tips fall within the framework of its efforts to educate the community on various life aspects and help them make appropriate decisions. It also urges all consumers to report violations or submit complaints and suggestions through the following channels: call centre 16001, [email protected]
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