Advertisements by companies offering monthly instalments for a commodity or service without displaying the total price or length of instalments violate the law of the country, according to Qatar consumer protection law No. 8 of 2008.
For example, an advertisement that tempts a consumer to buy a commodity and pay QR100 monthly without mentioning the number of months of instalment or the full-end price is a “misleading advertisement”, the consumer protection law says.
In these cases, at the time of getting the invoice of a purchase in instalments, a consumer should check for the total amount of instalments, the actual amount of the annual interest and how to calculate it, the starting date of calculating the interest, the duration of instalment period, sanctions imposed in case of their failure to pay.
If the company fails to provide this information, the consumer reserves the right to file law suits as part of a set of rights the law grants the latter.
The consumer rights include a consumer reserving the right of a) safety of the normal use of commodity/service, b) access to information and correct data, c) free choice of commodity/services, d) the right in respect of religious values, customs and traditions and e) the right to participate in societies related to consumer protection.
“A consumer also has the right to raise law suits for anything that impairs, damages or restricts his or her rights,” the law says.
Other examples of misleading advertisements include an air-cooler that is said to purify air, despite the absence of that effect, or a fat-less oil advertised to purge cholesterol, despite the presence of cholesterol traces.
They can also report false advertisements that sell a commodity as hand-made while it is not or is derived from contents other than stated.
In terms of information, every consumer in Qatar reserves the right to obtain the type, nature and components of a commodity, its origin, name of producer, importer, trader name, address, date of production and validity and storage and methods of usage as well as content information.
Meanwhile, it is mandatory in Qatar to have the price of all commodities or services to be displayed in Qatari riyals. It is, however, permissible to mention the equivalent in US dollars or any other foreign currency in addition to the local currency.
The Consumer Protection Department at the Ministry of Business & Trade (mbit.gov.qa) has issued a 21-page awareness guide for the consumers (both in English and Arabic) on the occasion of fifth GCC Day for Consumer Protection that falls on March 1.
The proactive department has also set up hotlines to receive complaints 494 5550 or 494 5500. Consumers can also send the department an SMS with the word “consumer” and the complaint to 92665, in case of a grievance.
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