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Posted On: 19 March 2020 02:30 pm
Updated On: 19 March 2020 02:33 pm

How to complain about price hikes amid the coronavirus (COVID) crisis in Qatar

Nabeela
Nabeela
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Amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis in Qatar, when people have been panic buying because they feel that if things are shut down, food products and other grocery items won't be available readily, and products like surgical masks and sanitisers constantly seeing a shortage in the market, the government has continuously been assuring us that everything is under control and Qatar has enough food in stock for over two years, and that it is constantly monitoring prices in the market to ensure suppliers don't try to cash in on this difficult time by hiking prices of different products.

That is why on 19 March 2020, The MOCI announced maximum selling prices of sanitisers and disinfectants in the market so that people are aware if any supplier tries to sell these products at a higher price than it should be. According to the Ministry's post, it is forbidden to sell the mentioned products in prices exceeding the maximum prices indicated in the list (To find out the price list, click the following link: Maximum selling prices of sanitisers and disinfectants). In case of non-compliance with these maximum prices, violations will be filed and legal measures will be taken.

Still, we have people messaging us on our different social media platforms telling us about price hikes in sanitisers, disinfectants, surgical masks, gloves and other products, and asking us if there was a way to report these price hikes.

Yes, there is. Under the Consumer Protection Law in Qatar, consumers can file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Department.

What is the Consumer Protection Law?

The Consumer Protection Law provides protection covering all products and services in Qatar whether charged for or given to the consumer free of charge.

What are your rights as a consumer?

The basic rights of a consumer shall be guaranteed under the provisions of this Law. No person may conclude any agreement or conduct any activity that prejudices such rights, based on the Hukoomi website , in particular the following:

  1. The right to safety and protection from commodities or services that are unsafe, or whose use might cause injuries to others;
  2. The right to obtain correct data and information about commodities or services;
  3. The right to choose commodities that meet conditions of quality and conform to specifications;
  4. The right to respect religious values, customs and traditions;
  5. The right to obtain knowledge related to protection of the consumer's legitimate rights and interests;
  6. The right to participate in associations, private institutions, councils and committees whose activities are related to consumer protection; and
  7. The right to file lawsuits concerning anything that may violate, harm or restrict the consumer's rights.
  8. The right to fair compensation for any property or financial damages sustained by him as a result of the purchase or use of commodities and services. Any agreement contrary to the aforesaid shall be deemed null and void.

Notwithstanding the above, nothing in this Law shall prejudice the provisions of international conventions to which Qatar is a party.

Who is responsible for Consumer Protection in Qatar?

The Ministry of Commerce's (MOCI) Consumer Protection and Combating Commercial Fraud Department is responsible for ensuring there are no illegal price hikes in Qatar, especially in times like the blockade against Qatar by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt that started on 5 June 2017, and also right now during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis when products like sanitisers and surgical masks are in shortage. There have even been reports that some places have hiked the prices of such commodotities or are trying to sell them online at exorbitant prices because of the supply-demand principle.

If you feel that the prices of commodities have been increased at this time when many shops and stores have been closed down amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis in Qatar, please contact the Ministry of Commerce's (MOCI) Consumer Protection and Combating Commercial Fraud Department (Consumer Protection Department).

Maximum selling prices of sanitisers and disinfectants: https://www.moci.gov.qa/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/prices_list.pdf
To know the prices of daily commodities in Qatar, click here: https://www.moci.gov.qa/en/our-services/consumer/commodities-daily-prices/

Procedure to report a price hike

As a consumer, if you find the prices of sanitisers and disinfectant are higher than the ones in the list above in any store or supermarket along with any other product or good in Qatar please report to the MOCI Consumer Protection Department.

Need to lodge a complaint about a price hike you found somewhere? You've got a couple of options:

  1. Call the Consumer Protection Department and lodge a complaint: Whatsapp: +974 +974 6611 1400; Toll-free: 16001; Hot line (outside of Qatar): +974 4494 5555 / 4494 5001
  2. File a complaint directly at the Consumer Protection Department in West Bay on Omar Al Mukhtar Street.
  3. SMS your complaint to 92665 - According to Hukoomi all you need to do is type Please send your complaint or suggestion + the word 'consumer'.
  4. Download the complaints/feedback form from here: https://www.moci.gov.qa/en/our-services/consumer/submit-and-complain/. Fill in the form and submit.
  5. You'll receive a text message on your registered mobile phone verifying your complaint reference so you can follow up later on

Documentary evidence you need to file a complaint

Whenever you do complain, it's important that you have as much evidence as possible.

  • A copy of your Qatari ID
  • Name of the party against which you wish to submit your complaint, address, work nature, violation type and place of complain
  • A detailed statement of damage caused to you, if it is applicable
  • A copy of the invoice must be presented when submitting the complaint. Without the original invoice or a copy thereof, Consumer Protection Department will not be able to consider the complaint.

The Consumer Protection Department treats complaints very seriously.