Online shopping must be closely monitored: Qatari citizens and entrepreneurs

Online shopping must be closely monitored: Qatari citizens and entrepreneurs By Atif Ansari - December 26, 2021
Online shopping must be closely monitored suggested by Qatari citizens and entrepreneurs

Online shopping and protection of consumer rights

A number of Qatari citizens and entrepreneurs suggested that online trading and shopping platforms should be monitored closely by the authorities concerned to ensureĀ stricterĀ control on them and for further protection of consumer rights.Ā 

The said individuals told local Arabic daily Arrayah that the Ministry of Commerce & Industry (MoCI) should maintain close control on such portals and websites and different online platforms to ensure that they are compliant with all necessary consumer protection laws and regulations.

In particular, they should be obliged to post the full details of their products and price tags in Arabic and other languages could be added as well. Accordingly, the consumers demanded that there should be a dedicated contact number to report violations by these portals and platforms with the possibility of sending screenshots of the related violations.

Omran al-Kuwari, one of the citizens, stressed that many of these online platforms often do not post the price tags of their products with the aim of manipulating prices and selling their products at different rates to different customers. He said online trade is highly popular these days and the authorities concerned should exercise greater control on it to save customers from any potential manipulation or deceit.

He said he bought some mobile accessories from a certain website for QR100 and got the price in a private message. However, after two days, one of his friends bought the same for QR150. When he contacted the website concerned, they told him that the prices had gone up. He stressed that there is a need for constant monitoring of and tighter control on such entities.

Zakaria al-Majid said there are some people who use WhatsApp groups to sell and promote different products such as camping necessities, tools, watches, accessories and many other items. He said the prices in these groups often vary a lot and sometimes the origin of a product is also not clear. Besides, most of these rarely use Arabic and resort to private messages to give the prices and details of each product to make as much profit as possible from different customers.

He suggested that the authority concerned should create and maintain a comprehensive database of such portals and online platforms and update it constantly to monitor their practices and hold them liable for any violations of relevant laws and regulations. Besides, there should be an effective mechanism to easily report any related violations.

Nayif al-Shahrani also expressed that many of these platforms often hide prices to create a "state of curiosity" and attract the attention of customers, which they believe would further promote a product, while others aim simply aim at selling their items at different prices to different customers. He added that such sites should be keen to maintain transparency to gain the confidence and trust of customers.

By Atif Ansari - December 26, 2021

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