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Consumer safety tops PACP agenda

21/01/2014

SALALAH — The drive launched by the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP) to educate consumers about their purchasing behaviour is generating positive response, as the authority offices in the Sultanate are busy handling a large number of consumer complaints on a daily basis.

 

 

In an interview with Oman Observer, Ali Salim al Basrawi, In-charge of PACP in Dhofar Governorate, expressed happiness over the level of awareness among consumers and their pro-active role in checking bad practices being adopted by greedy traders.
“I am happy over the fact that large consumers themselves have adorned the role of ‘consumer inspectors’, as they have developed the habit of reading the manufacturing and expiry dates before buying consumable goods and reporting to us in case of any discrepancy. Here lies our success as we wanted people to be part of the PACP in handling consumer-related cases and ensuring value for money, health and safety of consumers,” he said.
Al Basrawi laid emphasis on asking for receipts even for small purchases to ensure action against erring traders. He also called upon them to get medically examined and procure report in case of any uneasy feeling after having food in any restaurant or a food outlet. “This will give them opportunity to avail treatment cost and due compensation from the outlet,” said Al Basrawi.
He, however, expressed satisfaction that cases of this nature were being reported to PACP and due action were being taken.
When asked what is the shortest and longest time taken in resolving a consumer dispute, Al Basrawi said: “One hour, days and months. It depends on the nature of the complaint. It varies from one hour to six months. This should be understood that our job is not to penalise traders unnecessarily. We are here to guard consumer rights. If the complaint is solved by a simple warning, we issue a warning and let the problem go. It is fine also if the trader is ready to compensate the consumer instantly… But in cases where it is necessary to involve the court, it takes long time untill the legal process is over.”
Al Basrawi alerted the consumers over the temptation of buying consumable goods in sale offers when the products were about to expire in two to three months. “The consumers should avoid buying such stuff in bulk, as there is consumer tendency to buy cheap things in bulk and storing them into freeze. Since they do not consume the whole thing within the expiry period, it gets waste. Consumers do not gain money in such cases, they tend to lose health instead,” said Al Basrawi.
Al Basrawi called upon the consumers to reach to the PACP through hotlines, direct lines and social media like facebook, YouTube or twitter. The PACP also has a website dedicated to consumers with all possible information regarding complaint redressal processes.
Maximum consumer cases being reported are those of electronic goods, particularly counterfeit or duplicate mobile phones, followed by vehicle spare parts and other consumer products like fast moving consumer goods (FMCGs).
The PACP official said, the Authority has been conducting general awareness about genuine and counterfeit consumer goods through various channels to make the consumers understand the difference between the two and impressing upon them to buy products from genuine agents and insist for receipt for any small or big purchase.
“Going to the genuine dealer or their sub dealers and retailers minimises your chances of being duped and the receipt protects your rights as a consumer. In case of any dispute with the shopkeeper, we encourage consumers to approach us and refer the matter to the consumer court on the basis of the genuineness of the case,” he said.
Al Basrawi said the consumers end up spending more in hypermarkets and supermarkets and buying ‘cheap’ counterfeit goods due to their bad shopping habits. He called upon them to prepare a list of things to be bought before hitting a shop instead of going and searching things at random.
“Go straight to counters according to your list, give time to understand the genuineness of the product by reading overleaf information, their manufacturing and expiry dates and then buy,” he suggests.

By Kaushalendra Singh
omanobserver

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CONSUMER LINE

 No one imagined that greed and deviousness would reach such a staggering level that thought exist only in movies and investigative drama shows , yet it became a stark reality when some merchants sought to make a profit on the account of health and safety of the young and adults alike utilizing the God-given intellect that they posses into destruction and evil instead of serving public good , the devious plan used ( Back to school ) season by carving holes inside books and hiding chewing tobacco inside in away from the inspectors notice targeting the younger generation with these destructive materials that effect the health , mind and safety of our kids .
 The Judicial officers noticed that consumers come very frequently to a specific shop during one of the inspection tours which raised their suspicions to strengthening the monitoring and follow up on that matter , students were spotted in the shop as well , the Officers expediently intervened to inspect the shop , the inspection did not reveal anything at first , however , the officers noticed a stack of books and decided to inspect it , surprisingly , they found more than 600 pouches of chewing tobacco on its way to be sold and distributed on consumers and students , the officers immediately issued a violation and referred the case to the General Prosecution to deal with the matter as per the Law


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Sultanate of Oman