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Posted On: 21 June 2009 08:10 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

Consumers losing faith in promotions

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Consumer confidence in summer promotions launched by shopping outlets in the country is running at an alarmingly low level, reveals an online survey conducted by Al Sharq Arabic daily. An incredible 85 percent surveyed said they considered summer offers announced by shops, showrooms and hypermarkets a ploy to offload stocks. Only 10 percent interviewees said they thought the offers were genuine, while the remaining five percent said they were undecided. The daily referred the findings of the survey to a number of famous outlets and their managements said they did not find the results shocking since most promotions were indeed a ploy to fool customers. Discounts offered on food items are an exception because they are mostly genuine, according to market men. A number of outlets tend to raise prices and then offer discounts, taking customers for a ride. Some indulge in distress sale to do away with old stocks, so these promotions are genuine. ‘Ploy promotions’ are often witnessed in outlets selling garments, according to market sources. “With some effort one can easily look through such ploys. Visiting a normal garments store after having been to a shop offering a piece of garment at a so-called discounted rate, can be revealing,” a source said. “This way, one can notice that the discount offered in respect of a trouser, for instance, is its actual price and even a bit more,” he argued. The irregularities take place despite the fact that outlets have to fulfill strict requirements to be allowed by the government to launch a promotion. Permission is required from the Consumer Protection Department of the Ministry of Business and Trade as well as from the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning. Among the requirements is the production of invoices that show the prices of items an outlet wants to launch the promotion for, and convincing the government agencies about how the promotion would benefit the consumer. “Procedures to get approvals for promotions are really tough,” admits a source. Rules prescribe stringent punishment for violations, but according to market sources, some erring outlets are targeted while others are spared.