Muscat: How does it feel when you find you have been cheated by salespeople or are forced to buy something?
This has been the experience of some tourists at the 200-year-old Muttrah Souq, which is one of the most attractive sites in Oman.
Although prices are usually higher at such old markets because of the uniqueness of items, some goods are priced "unreasonably high" with prices varying from one shop to the other, according to tourists.
For example, the price of a same quality pashmina shawl, which is one of the most sought after items in the souq, ranges from OMR2 to 6. Frankincense, which Oman is famous for, can cost tourists from OMR2 to 4. The price of Omani khanjar of the same quality and size varies from OMR25 to 35.
Visitors believe that strict implementation of the rules making it mandatory for shopkeepers to affix price tags on items can solve the issue.
Though the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP) conducts regular inspections at the market and imposes fines on those who flout the law, it acknowledges that it cannot eliminate the disparity in prices, mainly due to its limited workforce.
A senior official at the PACP says that the authority plans to appoint more inspectors in the light of complaints it has been receiving from tourists and other visitors.