New law to boost consumer rights, ensure fair compensation in Oman
February 25, 2015 | 12:00 AM
The Public Authority for Consumer Protection also released the new Competition Protection and Monopoly Prevention Law. Photo-Times of Oman

Muscat: In a move certain to boost the confidence of citizens and residents, the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP), has released the new consumer law which was approved through a Royal Decree in November 2014.

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The authority also released the new Competition Protection and Monopoly Prevention Law.

To make it convenient for citizens and residents, the documents have been released in Arabic, English and Urdu.

People can now enjoy the rights and choices of the approved Consumer Protection Law.

A statement from the authority said, "We have issued the Consumer Protection Law promulgated by the Royal Decree No. 662014 and Anti-Monopoly Law promulgated by Royal Decree No. 672014 in three languages — Arabic, English and Urdu. The Consumer Protection Law includes 49 articles which deal with consumer rights, duties and penalties, while the Anti-Monopoly Law contains 30 subjects."

While promoting consumer rights, this law guarantees the rights of consumer, including the right to access information of the commodities being purchased or used, or the services received.

It also ensures the "right to receive fair compensation for damages suffered by the consumer or the property thereof, which results from the procurement or ordinary use of the commodity or the receipt of the service."

It guarantees the right to respect the consumer's religious values and customs and traditions on being provided with any commodity or service.

A member of the Majlis Al Shura said, "The new law came into being after a long debate. Since the law is available on a public forum, consumers will know what their rights are and what to do if they think these have been breached."

He also said, "Any person trading in a commodity or rendering a service to the consumer will now be alert."

Among the many new penalties included in the law are that trading in counterfeit commodities and finding defects in commodities which could be harmful to consumers could invite imprisonment between one and two years with a fine between OMR2000 and OMR50,000.

If a violation leads to the death of a person the punishment could be more than five years in jail.

Violation of some of the other articles such as providing services without meeting special safety standards can be punishable by imprisonment from 10 days to one year and a fine ranging from OMR100 to OMR2,000.

As per the law, if the person or a company is convicted, the court can order the publication of the summary of the verdict in two widely read daily newspapers at the expense of the convicted party.

"It is a welcome move. Those committing a crime will be made public," said Shoaib Al Balushi citizen.

Under the consumer rights section, Article 16 stipulates that the customer should be entitled to a replacement, return or refund of the value of the commodity without any additional costs if the commodity is found defective or unfit for the purpose for which it was brought, within 15 days.

However, the consumer should be able submit proof of purchase of the item from the provider, and that the defect is not due to misuse by the consumer. The Competition Protection and Monopoly Prevention Law aims at regulating the freedom of practicing any economic activity, stabilising the principles of market rules and freedom of pricing in such a manner that it does not restrict integral competition, prevent the same or is negatively affected.

A member of the Majlis Al Shura said this would encourage entrepreneurs from small and medium size enterprises.

He said, "I especially welcome the article which says 'any person may conclude any agreement for importing any product licensed to be traded within the Sultanate of Oman for the purpose of selling, distribution, mar

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