By Andy Sambidge
Big name shopping outlet faces charges over holy month price manipulation.
A big name retailer in Qatar is facing legal action by the government for ignoring a ministerial decision to freeze the prices of 104 consumer items during Ramadan.
The retailer, which has not been named, is understood to be the first in the Gulf state to be officially charged over price manipulation, it was reported on Monday.
It has been charged for violating the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Business and Trade related to the prices of commonly used items, mostly basic foodstuff, during the holy month, The Peninsula reported.
Inspectors from the Consumer Protection Department of the Ministry discovered the alleged violations and referred the case to the Public Prosecution and the case will now be heard in court, the report added.
The Ministry froze the prices of the 104 basic consumer items to protect consumers who had been complaining of unfair and unprecedented price hikes by retailers.
The court case is thought to be the first time any retail outlet has been charged for price manipulation in Qatar.
So nice to see we have price control in some countries in the Gulf, but to charge a retailer to have a "hike in prices", not so fair. I mean no one twisted anyone's arm to go and buy from that retailer, anyone consumer can go to any other retailer to obtain the same items for better prices. What is next, close down Louis Vuitton for having extravagant "Hiked" prices? Something is fishy here, and makes you think why did they chose to pick on that retailer, whose name is not mention. I blame the media for this. The media should be responsible enough to report to the general public and point the finger and say that this "unnamed retailer" has hiked his prices, so people can know and take proper decisions and actions, and not keep the retailer's name concealed. If you tell the public the truth, all those actions are not necessary, just simply by damaging the retailer's reputation should be enough and well taught lesson for other retailers. It should be up to the consumer to choose who to close down, by boycotting the retailer. So far, this article was of no benefit to the consumer.
I SAY NAME AND SHAME ! why is this region so afraid to do that...
First of all, I don't understand your sympathy for the Retailer. The Retailer has no right to hike the prices explicitly because it is Ramadan. This is unislamic and prohibited by law. It is perfectly fair and right that the Retailer is charged. Secondly, this is not about consumer power as you are going on about. It is not about consumers choosing where to buy and where not to buy. This is about a cynical, greedy and illegal move by Retailers who are increasing the cost of products during our holy month, which is NOT ALLOWED. The Qatar government is noble enough to protect the rights of their citizens and guests by punishing these Retailers whose behaviour is a complete slap in the face to the tradition, meaning, and spirit of Ramadan.
A free market is one in which the retailer is allowed to charge what they wish for the products they sell and the consumer has the choice to pay that price or go to another retailer. Unfortunately many of the retailers in the GCC are monopolies and, therefore, the consumer doesn't have a choice to go elsewhere. This is why the government then has to step in and artificially set the price of goods. If the consumer wants to have fair prices than they have to demand that the government step out of the price setting arena. Of course, the government also has to ban monopolies else this idea will fail. Truth be told, the GCC is not a free market and most people don't seem to understand that. Price control is not a free market and never will be....and until it is gone high prices and government interference will continue. SJ