Shoura Council members called for the establishment of a consumer protection commission, which would monitor prices, assure fair competition in the market, oversee consumer protection regulations, and promote awareness about consumer rights in coordination with relevant authorities. According to the proposal, individuals found importing counterfeit items unfit for consumption would be subject to a fine of at least 10 percent of the value of the products, while such products would be exported.
Details of additional penalties in consumer protection regulations as proposed by council members include up to two years in prison and a fine of between SR5,000 and SR50,000. If individuals fail to alert consumers about the danger of using a specific product or service in a clear manner, and direct harm is caused as a result, an additional penalty of one year in prison and a fine of between SR50,000 and SR100,000 would apply.
The Economic Committee at the Council confirmed that it has recommended approval following further study of the proposal, as well as calling for activation of the anti-commercial fraud system and greater focus on improving the capacity of regulatory and executive agencies responsible for preventing the spread of counterfeit and fake goods, more intense inspection tours of local markets, further inspection of all imported goods, and tougher sanctions against offenders in support of consumer protection rights. The committee also recommended greater coordination between Gulf and Arab efforts to place unified mechanisms in place that would prevent the incident of commercial and industrial fraud.
The proposed consumer protection system, which aims to ensure the health and safety of all consumers, includes three main issues for further study: the capacity of government agencies considered with consumer protection and the level of efficiency of coordination and cooperation between them; the existence of an appropriate organization or commission that specializes in consumer affairs at the Ministry of Commerce; and the effectiveness of the Consumer Protection Association as an influential civil society organization and the need for other similar organizations.
As for legal aspects, the proposal calls for more formal provisions that deal with consumer and investor rights and greater penalties related to commercial fraud.