By Beatrice Thomas
Figures revealed in annual report of Oman's Public Authority for Consumer Protection
Complaints to Oman’s Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP) soared by 18.24 percent in 2013 as fines hit a record RO456,760 ($1.19m), it was reported.
The PACP said the total number of complaints and violations processed at 14 branches across the country reached 37,408 – up from 31,636 in 2012.
Of this, 16,803 complaints were registered at the authority’s various branches including its headquarters in Muscat, while 14,596 reports of malpractices were received through consumer hotlines and the remaining 6,009 were violation notices issued to offenders, Muscat Daily reported.
In its annual report, the Directorate General for Information and Market Studies at the authority said 2.69 million defective goods were seized in 2013.
It said the number of penal orders and cases ruled in favour of consumers went up by 153 per cent, from 521 in 2012 to 1,320 in 2013, while the value of fines imposed went up by 422 percent from RO87,388.5 to RO456,760.
The statistics showed the authority settled 29,246 complaints and referred 658 to the Public Prosecution while 1,495 were still under investigation.
Muscat topped the list with 9,098 complaints, followed by North Batinah (1,647), Dhofar (1,120), Dakhliyah (1,058), South Batinah (992) and Dhahirah (788).
In 2013, automobiles and spare parts topped the list of complaints, followed by mobile phones and services, electrical and electronic devices, construction and construction services, aluminium workshops and kitchen services and food and consumable products.
Omar Faisal al Jahadmi, director general of consumer services and marketing, PACP, told the Muscat Daily that there were a number of reasons for increased consumer awareness and subsequent rise in complaints and violations reported.
“The authority has strived to create awareness among the public and with increased media coverage and tools like PACP Mobile App, it is easy for consumers to convey their grievances,” he was quoted as saying.