Rogue traders in Bahrain 'cheating clients'
Manama, February 5, 2013
Rogue traders in Bahrain are deliberately buying damaged or expired goods on the cheap and selling them to unsuspecting customers, said a top official.
Dalal Al Zayed, legislative and legal affairs committee chairman of the Shura Council, told fellow members that some companies knew the goods they were supplying were substandard, according to a report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
"There are merchants who intentionally purchase tampered or expired goods or products for cheaper prices," she said.
Al Zayed said authorities should follow the paper trail when going after companies believed to be endangering their customers. "Letters (traditional or digital) could easily identify if it is intentional," she said.
Minister of State for Parliament and Shura Council Affairs Abdulaziz Al Fadhel asked councillors to review an article that punishes importers with up to five years in jail, a BD5,000 ($13,188) fine or both - or the cost of the imported goods or products, whichever is higher - when tampered or expired goods are discovered.
"The importer is a firsthand purchaser before consumers and he or she could have been cheated by the supplier," he said. "Punishing an innocent individual is against the Constitution."
Another article punishing helpers and promoters has also been withdrawn for revision.
The new bill has already been approved by parliament, after being submitted by the Shura Council with the support of the Industry and Commerce Ministry.
It includes jail sentences of up to 10 years for traders who cause permanent disability or illness to consumers, fines of up to BD10,000 - or the cost of the complete consignment, whichever is higher.
If it leads to death the punishment would be life in prison and fines of up to BD20,000 - or the cost of the whole consignment, whichever is higher.
Merchants could face up to five years in jail and maximum fines of BD5,000 for the manufacture or sale of tampered or expired human or animal consumer goods, medicines, herbs, plants or other natural or artificial products.
The punishment would be doubled if the goods or products sold caused harm to humans or animals.
Possession of tampered or expired goods or products with the intention to sell could result in a year in jail, a fine of BD1,000, or both.
However, if importers are unaware of spoiled goods they would be given a deadline to send it back or have it destroyed at their own expense.
Officials who through negligence allow substandard products and goods into the market will face up to a year in jail and fines of up to BD2,500.
Meanwhile, shops and outlets selling such products could have their places of business shut down for up to a year and face fines of up to BD5,000.
If they repeat the offence they would be closed for up to five years and have their Commercial Registration terminated. – TradeArabia News Service