Muscat: If you are visiting Salalah to enjoy the Khareef season, be careful when you bargain with the hotels, hotel apartments or their brokers as the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP) "does not interfere" in their issues.
This was made clear by the PACP when visitors to Salalah complained to it through social media about the rising rents of hotel rooms and hotel apartments, particularly during the Khareef season.
The PACP said: "The authority monitors prices and as far as hotel rooms and apartments owned by people or the brokers are concerned, it does not interfere into these issues." However, immediately after that, the PACP did start a survey of the people's experience during the Salalah festival.
On its website, the PACP has posted a detailed questionnaire about people's experience of Dhofar governorate visit, particularly to Salalah, during the Khareef season. Among other questions, it has asked them to tell it if the rate of the hotel rooms or apartments were high and what their actual budget was. It has also asked if the taxi services were also costly.
During the Khareef season, the PACP has also started a mobile exhibition to create awareness among visitors about their rights and duties including the services provided by the authority.
Abdul Hameed Al Ghafri, an Omani engineer from Muscat, who visited Salalah for two days recently said he had to pay more than OMR150 for a modest hotel apartment which was many times higher when compared to rates on normal days.
"Due to the Khareef season, we expect that there would be a hike in the rents of the hotel apartments. But I never expected that it would be beyond expectations. Due to this, I had to wind up early and come back," he said.
Fareeda Salim, a Pakistani housewife who lives in Sohar with her family, said no one pays attention to such issues even though increasing prices of each and everything during Khareef season, including hotel rooms, had become a common practice.
"Due to my previous experience, I have stopped visiting Salalah during Khareef. I prefer to visit in September when the prices return to normal," she said.
Manish Srivastava, an accountant at an automobile firm, said the Public Authority for Consumer Protection should have a mechanism to control prices during Khareef season also. "The cost of staying is much more than we had imagined when it came to the peak season," he said.
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