RIYADH: A new electronic app will now protect consumers against fake and illegal discount offers and promotions, said a spokesman for the Saudi Commerce Ministry.
The app will also let consumers check if sales are still valid and useable. If they are invalid, consumers can report violations directly to the ministry, he said on Tuesday.
The spokesman, Abdulrahman Al-Hussain, said that companies offering discounts are required to follow certain procedures. They must apply for a license, mention products covered by discounts, provide a list of product prices before and after discount, give a discount percentage and put a before and after prices on a product price tag, he said.
The e-discounts app also lists companies that have a license to offer discounts, and explains the types of discounts licensed by the ministry. The app can be accessed on smartphones.
Another feature available on the app is the ability to search for consumables or companies and show the percentage and duration of discounts. It also allows consumers to find the location of a company through Google Maps.
“The ministry requires the companies to print the license of discounts and display it properly. For online stores, the license of discounts should be clearly shown on the website,” said Al-Hussain.
“Companies and online businesses can apply for a discount license and promote seasonal sales through the application. This service gives discounts, sales, and promotions more credibility,” he added.
Muhammad Al-Hamad, a former president of the Consumer Protection Association, said the ministry should double-check the prices before discounts and ensure there is a price tag showing the price and the value-added tax, as well as the discount percentage and price after tax.
“Some stores raise the prices then claim they are offering discounts. The consumer should search for the quality before the price and also ask if there is an aftersales service,” he said. “The consumer should also demand a receipt because this is the only proof showing that he or she has bought the product,” he added.