Championing the consumer
Consumer rights in Qatar are protected by law. The Consumer Protection Law provides protection covering all products and services whether charged for or given to the consumer free of charge.
Under the law, a consumer is defined as any person or legal entity who:
- Obtains a product or service for personal needs or the needs of others.
- Is dealt with or contracted for such product or service.
The scope of protection covers products and services that are free of charge.
The law also places an obligation on suppliers to play fair, provide certain information about their products and services, and to reimburse and/or compensate the consumer for poor service or faulty goods. A supplier is defined as any person who provides and distributes, trades in, sells exports, imports or is involved in the production or circulation of the goods and services.
Know your rights
The law sets out a basic bill of rights for consumers, some of which are:
- The right to health and safety in the ordinary use of products and services.
- The right to obtain correct information on products and services.
- The right to obtain all relevant product or service information in Arabic as well as other languages.
- The right to return, replace or repair the product free of charge, if a defect is found out or it doesn’t meet standard specifications or its purpose.
- The right to find all relevant product information including its type, nature, components etc.
- The right to find the price of the product clearly displayed.
- The right to obtain a dated invoice for the product purchased.
- The right to obtain all warranties relevant to the product offered by the producer or agent.
- The right to obtain another free product if the period of executing warranty terms exceeded 15 days until the warranties terms are fully honored.
- The right to take legal recourse on any breach or restriction of their consumer rights.
As a consumer you are entitled to claim compensation for any damage to property caused as a result of buying or using a product or service.
Accordingly, the supplier is obligated to refund the value of the product or replace or repair it without charge if:
- A defect is discovered in the product, or
- The product does not meet standard specifications for its purpose.
Misleading and false advertisements
The Consumer Protection Law prohibits the selling, displaying, offering, promotion and advertisement of any spoilt or out-of-sell-by-date products i.e. they have exceeded their validity date or do not conform to prescribed specifications.
Suppliers are also prohibited from describing, advertising or displaying products using false or misleading information.
Suppliers are obligated to display the following information clearly and legibly on all labels:
- The price of the product or service (or display the price prominently at the point of purchase).
- The type, nature and ingredients of the product.
The law also provides protection for consumers who pay for goods or services by instalment. In these cases, the supplier must provide the following information:
- The total cost of the product or service.
- The total cost of the product or service when purchased by instalment.
- The amount to be paid in advance (if applicable).
- The instalment period.
- The number of instalments for each period and the amount owed on each instalment.
Penalties – suppliers beware!
Suppliers who breach any of the provisions of the law may face “detention for a term not exceeding two years and fine”.
The fine has recently been increased in an amendment Law (14) of 2014 from one of between 5,000 and 10,000 Riyals to one of between 3,000 and 1 million Riyals. This penalty doubles if the supplier repeats the offence within five years of the original infringement. Furthermore, if the supplier fails to advise of a dangerous commodity the fine has been amended to one of between 15,000 and 100,000 Riyals to one of between 15,000 and 1 million Riyals. However, suppliers who unintentionally advertise incorrect information are excluded from this penalty if it is determined that the information provided was too technical to verify.
Law No (14) of (2011) further adds that violating shops can be closed by up to three months where repeat violations occur.
Consumer Rights Action
The Law permits citizens to set up consumer rights societies and groups that help provide consumers with information, defend consumers’ interests, convey concerns and complaints to relevant authorities, and research and publish studies related to consumer protection.
Watch the translated Consumer Protection Law video in sign language on Ministry of Commerce and Industry YouTube channel.
Submit Complaints or Suggestions to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry
Companies, citizens and residents can report complaints or submit suggestions online to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
- Enter the required details including your full name and email address, as well as the subject title.
- Select the feedback type (Complaint or Suggestion), and add your phone number.
- Write down the content of your complaint or suggestion in the comments’ box.
- Click on “Submit”.
No fees are required for this service.
- Call (or sms) Consumer Protection Department in order to carry out all legal proceedings required to protect your rights.
Hot line: 44945500 / 44945550
Ministry Tel: 44945555
SMS: 92665 [Please send your complaint or suggestion + the word ‘consumer’]
- You may go directly to the Consumer Protection Department to submit your complaint and discuss it with one of the employees.
Their office is located in West Bay Doha on Omar Al Mukhtar Street. (Click here for directions)