Oman


15-year-jail for duping consumers in Oman


For illustration purpose only. File photo

Muscat: Tough punishments, including up to 15 years in jail, will be meted out to those convicted of breaking Oman's new consumer protection law.

Majlis Al Shura has now completed reviewing the revamped law, which will also see fine double from OMR5,000 to up to OMR10,000.

It comes after the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP) dealt with 29,246 complaints last year, mostly about foods, followed by car tyres, spare parts, watches, jewellery, clothes, phones, electronic devices, and building materials.

Vote for the changes
"The review process lasted for more than two months and we will vote for the changes on March 24", a Shura member told the Times of Oman.

"The law will then be referred to the State Council, and, after that to Council of Ministers," the Shura member added.

"Apart from heftier financial penalties jail terms will also be increased, some reaching up to 15 years or more."

The new consumer law also will have more judicial control and jurisdiction. It aims to control irregularities in the local market and hold violators to account.

Dr Said bin Khamis Al Kaabi, chairman of the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP), said he hopes to see the new consumer protection come into being in the near future.

He said it is important to come into being in the light of growing commercial fraud and irregularities.

"Meanwhile, the new law will also contribute towards ensuring the stability of the local market and safeguarding the rights of the consumers and merchants alike, Al Kaabi  said.

Amendments
Al Kaabi said the board members of the PACP made some amendments to the consumer protection law in August, 2011 keeping in view the latest developments in consumer protection practices across the world.

"The amendments to the Consumer Protection Act are aimed at rectifying the weaknesses by taking advantage of the global and regional experiences in this area as similar laws exist elsewhere too. In the light of such experiences, the provisions were sought to be amended to make these more stringent and address all kinds of malpractices," said Al Kaabi.

Complaints addressed
Al Kaabi had recently stated that all government units had contributed to the new Consumer Protection Act.
Meanwhile, the PACP said it had successfully addressed 29,246 complaints and confiscated more than 2.5 million items that violated consumer protection laws in all the governorates of the Sultanate last year.

The total number of complaints and registered violations in all the directorates of PACP reached 37,408, out of which 16,803 were received at the headquarters in Muscat, while 14,596 complaints were received by other branches.

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