Fake goods a big threat

By: Kabeer Yousuf

MUSCAT: If someone offers you a brand new iPhone 6 for as low as RO 100, remember you will soon be a victim of piracy and fraud. A branded lipstick or facial for an astonishing price which would be enticing but beware!! Counterfeit, look alike and sub-standard products are widely available in the market posing greater threat to public health in particular and the economy as a whole. Let alone the road accidents due to counterfeit spare parts.

There have been a series of fire mishaps, the reason for many would probably have been counterfeit electrical goods which are rampantly available in the local market.

In a shocking revelation recently, the Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulances (PACDA) has said that sub-standard electrical goods and appliances trigger many fire incidents.

A look at seized counterfeit goods at the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP) premises will indeed gives a shock and one will start to take a closer look at whatever products one buys.

Year after year, the authority has seized huge number of such devices and fake products from the market.

“We receive lot of complaints from customers regarding fake, counterfeit and sub-standard products, and most of the complaints have been resolved informally; while others have been referred to the Public Prosecution,” an official at the PACP, told the Observer.

He said that auto related complaints ranked first in terms of the number of cases, while counterfeit cigarettes topped the list of the 1,122,643 counterfeit products seized by the authority recently.

The number of counterfeit packs of cigarettes which were confiscated by the PACP reached 601,997, he added.

Apart from cigarettes, 462,749 packs of chewing tobacco and non-smoking tobacco were also seized.

According to the PACP report, 17,078 foodstuff products seized during the period were found to be impure or having falsified expiry dates. Additionally, 15,245 cosmetic and personal hygiene products, along with 15,184 herbal products, were also seized during inspections.

Further, 1,464 clothes, 829 disinfectants, 423 building materials, 369 electrical and electronic devices, 249 goods from the automotive sector, 102 phones and 97 art items were seized during various inspections carried out by the authority. These products were found while inspectors were having normal monitoring of markets.

“The complaints against fake electrical goods is a good move and such fakes in the market are affecting our business,” Shamsheer, owner of an electric shop on Honda Road, noted.

Complaints against automotive range between 400 to 500, out of which 256 were connected to workshops, nine regarding spare parts and 54 related to tyres.

Additionally, the complaints department received 200 grievances on cellphones.

Apart from these, 118 complaints related to carpentry work and aluminium workshops, 62 complaints about furniture shops and 54 against tour and travel operators and offices.

“Since its establishment, the PACP has been supervising the implementation of the Sultanate’s general policy on consumer protection, in coordination with other government authorities,” the official noted, adding that “the authority has been working towards developing a sustainable downstream chain to support Oman’s thriving consumer market and protect consumer rights”.

While stringent measures are in place to verify the originality and authenticity of any product being imported in the country or being manufactured in the country, these counterfeit products and dealers are spoiling the market by infusing sub-standard products, harming public health as well as causing damage to property and lives.

SOURCE: OMAN DAILY OBSERVER

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