Discounts as sort of illusion.
Yaseen Al-Tameemi, a researcher at the Environment and Consumption Affairs, said the spread of advertisement discounts is relevant to problems with goods.
"There are no genuine discounts," Al-Tameemi said. "If there is, then it is rare. The purpose is only to attract the consumers." Al-Tameemi said there are discounts for basic products; this proves a problem pertinent to the quality of the product.
"For example, the product nears expiration due to poor storage conditions." He continued, saying, "With regard to the clothing and electric machine discounts, it is just an illusion because of the absence of censorship and customs' ineffective laws." Abdulsalam Al-Samawei, the legal affairs manager at the Commercial Chamber, said some merchants increase the sell price on an item and then advertise a discount; that is to say, the sale price reflects the actual retail price of the item. He also said there are few shopping centers that exhibit real special offers during Eid and Ramadan.
Dunia Al-Aghbari, a shopper, said she found some products in certain shopping centers for two years; the price has never changed, though advertisements claimed discounts on these products.
"Every year, I ask the salesmen if the price of these products would continue unchanged. They respond that the products were offered only two days ago. This is really untrue." Some merchants rely on the street vendors to distribute brochures to bystanders on the streets or to put brochures near huge trade signs.
Al-Sawamei said it is important to hang discount signs; these signs should not be hung unless a permit is obtained from the offices of Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Commercial Chamber nationwide.
"These offices can supervise that discounts are a reality?" Al-Sawamei said. "Is the consumer subject to manipulation?" Any discount advertisement should be factual; this cannot be realized unless offices at the helm take action to curb the manipulating promotion, according to Al-Tameemi.
Market censorship Al-Tameemi criticized the censorship bodies in Ramadan, saying their performance is inefficacious.
"Censorship is not implemented on all. There are no administrative plans to execute censorship on the markets. The core problem is the shortage of staff." Although Al-Samawei stressed that the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Commercial Chamber launched collective campaigns during the month of Ramadan, he said the campaigns did not cover all markets.
Al-Tameemi called for the Commercial Chamber to control its members who commit contraventions before launching such campaigns to control the modest merchants.
"The merchants are not angels; the merchant--even if he is a member in the CC--would make such breaches at any time," Al-Samawei said.
For his part, Mohammed Al-Hilali, the operation general manager at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, said the ministry, with cooperation from the Commercial Chamber, inaugurated a field campaign in all governorates nationwide.
The campaign was implemented under the supervision of the local authority. The ministry's offices follow the issue of the exaggerated discounts offered in many shopping centers in order to be controlled.
Al-Hilali said violations since the start of Ramadan reached 600 in Sana'a; there were fewer violations in other governorates.
"In case the commercial violation is proved, the case is referred to the court." He said individuals responsible for controlling violations are subject to wanton treatment and are sometimes exposed to harm.
Several merchants complained about the taxes imposed by censorship offices. These taxes reach 40 percent, which results in promotion violations so that income is augmented.
Al-Tameemi said it is supposed that everyone know the censorship office, so this responsibility is not overlapped.
Al-Samawei said the commercial sector clearly suffers from this problem because each side claims they have the legislation to do this job; it is difficult for the merchant to bear all these inspections at the same time.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry gave an opportunity this year for coordination with all offices under the observation of the ministry, said Al-Hilali, indicating that it agreed on setting up a joint committee between the government and the private sector with regard to field censorship in the markets.
Al-Tameemi said among the solutions suggested is that the ministry can ask the merchants to provide all the documents relevant to the imported products.
"The merchants can decide on the price and declare that. Later the ministry can make sure through surveys in the markets."
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