As per the keenness and directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to provide the best services to citizens and residents, the Ministry of Commerce and Investment has paid great attention to the consumer’s protection and the promotion of his confidence through monitoring and controlling the markets and through conducting intensive awareness campaigns to educate consumers about their rights in all commercial fields. For achieving full transparency , MCI has set up direct Communication channels with the consumers to receive their complaints and reports through MCI Consumer Call Center “1900" or through the application of a Commercial Violation Report or via the Ministry's website.
MCI Statistics revealed that the Consumer Call Center has received 2,635,501 calls since January 2015 AD. The total number of complaints received reached 977,671. Therefore, the percentage of complaints out of the total calls reached 38%, while the remaining percentages related to inquiries, suggestions and following up the complaints.
The statistic report revealed that the violations related to commercial fraud listed the top of complaints, while the violations of the commercial agencies ranked the second, then come the supply and provision cases, the rest of complaints related to promotion and sale, commercial data, fuel stations, copying signs and slogans contrary to the Islamic faith, real estate offices, commercial concealment, as well as jewelry, gemstone and financial fraud.
As part of the Ministry's efforts to control the markets, MCI inspectors conducted a lot of inspection tours during the last three years, including the markets and commercial establishments to verify compliance with the approved regulations and specifications. During these inspection tours, 7.5 million fake and counterfeited products were seized. Mostly food products, electrical appliances, cosmetics and clothes. The Ministry had taken all legal procedures to refer the cases to the Public Prosecution, which in turn transfers them to the judicial authorities for taking the final judgment. As per the Anti-Commercial Fraud Law, penalties for trade violation may reach to two years' imprisonment and fines amounting to one million riyals.
During the past period, MCI has made great efforts to improve its performance in the field of consumer protection. It has launched a number of services, including the establishment of a Center for Recalling Defective Products, launching the electronic site for checking and calibration of fuel stations, launching the e-service for releasing chemicals, also the updated version of the Commercial Violation Report. The Ministry launched a number of electronic services to cope with the great acceleration in the world of e-commerce, so that to provide the latest methods and solutions to deal with this issue, where it had launched “Ma’aroof” e-service to register the electronic stores in order to enhance confidence between buyer, seller and distributor, as this service provides all data about those registered, which enhances the reliability and credibility of their products and business, and since the launch of this service, the total electronic shops registered in “Ma’aroof" e-service reached about 13 thousand, in relation to various activities and services.
The Consumer Protection Plan approved by the Council of Ministers recently will contribute to enhancing the government's role in protecting consumers against unjustified increases in prices of goods and products, as well as against all trade violations, concurrently with the implementation of the recent economic reforms during the coming period. The plan includes rapid and direct intervention towards any issues affecting the supply and demand.
This plan comes within the integration framework with the financial balance program relevant to the initiatives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, aiming to strengthen and boost the roles of the parties concerned to protect and preserve the rights of consumers against any attempt to exploit or misuse those reforms, and to ensure the stability of commodity prices.
MCI is implementing an integrated work plan to control markets and outlets in various regions of the Kingdom. This plan relies on intensifying field inspection tours in all regions of the Kingdom to ensure that the Citizen Account Program is not misused or exploited, since this program is targeting low and medium income families, so that they can bear the costs of the recent economic reforms.
MCI affirms that it will follow-up and control any unjustified increase in the prices of goods in addition to verifying the abundance of supply of products and commodities and ensuring the multiplicity of suppliers to create free competition for the interest of the consumer.