SALALAH, Aug 6 – There is a thin line between original and fake goods, and it is up to the consumers to draw the line because any hurry while purchasing things can put them into the trap of the traders of counterfeit goods. The issue of counterfeit goods was discussed at a seminar, which is part of the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP) campaign against counterfeit goods and misleading promotions. The seminar opened at Crowne Plaza Salalah Resort on Monday. The seminar was held under the auspices of Sayyid Mohammed bin Sultan al Busaidy, Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar.
Shaikh Khalid bin Omar al Marhoon, Minister of Civil Service, and Dr Said bin Khamis al Kaabi, Chairman, PACP, were present on the occasion.
A PACP data suggested that the authority received 208 complaints and 1,827 violations related to fraudulent marketing, counterfeit goods and promotions not matching in reality. The PACP chairman put emphasis on highlighting the dangers of commercial fraud and raising awareness among people to distinguish between counterfeit and real goods.
Ali al Basrawi, In-charge of Dhofar chapter of the PACP, raised the caution and said, “There is a parallel market of counterfeit goods and it has emerged as an international problem. The consumers have to be cautious while shopping. They should not be lured by ‘cheap’ tag because the counterfeit good dealers are very good at imitation. They play on packaging, which looks like original.”
The solution lies in the consumers’ buying behaviour and their approach, as Al Basrawi suggested the customers to buy spare parts, electronic gadgets and other such stuff only from authorised outlets and their associates.
He also cautioned about some unknown people who stand near public places and approach the visitors citing some personal reasons to sell expensive mobile phones at a cheap rate.
“In most of the cases they have fake claims and items are counterfeit. Sometimes they run away with money without handing over the equipment, in many other cases they do not return the money in exchange of bigger amount,” he said. The action in such cases is difficult as the buyer doesn’t know the seller, he doesn’t have any receipt and finally he feels cheated.
Al Basrawi exhorted the consumers to insist for receipt as grey market is flooded with counterfeit items and this is the responsibility of the consumers to be extra cautious and give time in buying any consumer goods.
He also called them not to hesitate in filing a report with the PACP if they felt cheated at any point of time.
The maximum number of cases, reported with the PACP were those of counterfeit vehicle motor parts, duplicate mobile phones and fast moving consumer goods (FMCGs).
He called upon the consumers “to be extra cautious while buying a mobile phone, as there are fair chances of being duped by roadside vendors and individuals who tend to sell the equipment ‘cheap’ for several reasons including their own dire financial needs.”
An exhibition also opened on the sidelines of the seminar which tried to establish the difference between genuine and counterfeit consumer goods.
It also displayed the PACP’s efforts through various channels to make the consumers understand the difference between the two.
The PACP representatives insisted the visitors to spread the message among wide section of people to buy products from genuine agents and insist for receipt for any small or big purchase.
“Visiting the genuine dealer or their sub dealers and retailers minimises your chances of being duped and the receipt protects your rights as a consumer. “In case of any dispute with the shopkeeper, we encourage consumers to approach us and refer the matter to the consumer court on the basis of the genuineness of the case,” he said.