In a stern move that aims to protect the rights of consumers and give them the upper hand when purchasing goods, the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP) has issued a set of new regulations that tightens the grip on manufacturers and sellers of consumer goods.
The new guidelines came into effect on Monday (March 13), two years after the announcement of the Royal Decree of the Consumer Protection Law.
The regulations will help patch the loopholes and also address the shortcomings in the Consumer Protection Law. For instance, the new regulation classifies a product as adulterated if it contains any foreign substances that could alter its composition and in turn affect its durability. Such products could also be banned from sale in the country.
In an interview with Y, Mubarak al Zadjali, an IT solutions manager, said: “We [the residents of Oman] had been seeking clarity about this law for a while now, and I am glad that the PACP is finally stepping up to answer our questions.
“More people need to be aware of this law, as more shops across Oman are using our ignorance to their own benefit,” he added.
Under the tightened regulations, the penalties that manufacturers and sellers could face range from a jail term for up to two years, and fines as high as RO2,000.
Meanwhile, actions that compromise the safety of consumers will also land the offending party in jail for a minimum of 10 days and a maximum of one year. The fines in such cases can range anywhere between RO100 and 2,000.
According to PACP’s Consumer Protection Law, a product is deemed adulterated if:
1. Foreign substances are found in it that may change its composition and affect its durability.
2. The product is packaged with printed details that do not conform to the specifications set by the concerned authorities.
3. Details about the originality of the product is not provided to the consumer.
PACP’s law also states that it will prosecute offenders for malpractice if their product has been sold past its expiration date; if the labels are misleading and marked inappropriately; and if there are any changes to the natural character of the product. In such cases, consumers have been alerted that they have the power to exercise their rights. The sellers will be liable for the sale and will have to replace the faulty goods.