Crackdown nets substandard electrical products
THE Ministry of Commerce and Industry organized an inspection and regulatory campaign in various parts of the capital in response to consumer complaints regarding the safety and security of electronic products being sold in the city’s markets. The crackdown resulted in the confiscation of a large number of substandard electrical products including outlets, extension cords, power strips and light bulbs. The ministry also issued fines, questioned storeowners and imposed the appropriate punishments, which in some cases, resulted in the permanent closure of offending businesses, Al-Riyadh daily reported.
Commenting on the crackdown, the ministry revealed that 58 percent of electrical products being sold in the Kingdom are substandard or counterfeit. It called for greater cooperation with the Border Guards so such products can be confiscated before they are sold to consumers and also said awareness regarding the usage and knowledge of electrical products should be raised in order to protect citizens from the dangers associated with such products.
Fahd Bin Abdulrahman Aljalajil, Head of Consumers’ Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, personally accompanied others heads of departments and inspectors during the crackdown on stores selling electrical products on Abdulmohsen Bin Abdulaziz St. in Al-Malaz and Khalid Bin Alwaleed St. in Al-Rowdah. The well-coordinated campaign allowed inspectors to visit many stores, cross-reference and validate the information employees provided and record violations and issue fines accordingly.
When Minister of Commerce and Industry Tawfiq Al-Rabiah raised the motto “the careful citizen”, the ministry responded by answering citizens’ concerns and inquires on social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook and even YouTube. A dedicated center for reporting violations was also created and can be reached by dialing 1900. Despite the efforts exerted by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, substandard electrical products continue to be sold in the Kingdom’s markets and experts have said the situation requires the emergency measures.
The inspection campaign revealed that despite the introduction of new laws and regulations banning the selling, manufacturing or importing of electrical goods that do not confirm to standard regulations, a great number of products are still being sold and put on display without clear instructions in both English and Arabic.
Many vendors acknowledged they were breaking the law but said they were only responding to consumer demands for cheap products. In one case, expatriate workers unloading a shipment of counterfeit electrical products were arrested and officials discovered that they were working illegally under job titles different from what their visas allowed. Inspectors utilized iPads to facilitate the speedy recording of violations, which were issued on the spot and store owners were notified via SMS.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry said the following serious were taken to promote a safer market:
1. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has signed an agreement with the General National Commission for Quality Assurance in China to crackdown on substandard and counterfeit products in both countries.
2. Six labs in Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam are used by the ministry to inspect all imported products.
3. Inspection campaigns are ongoing and confiscation of products will continue.