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Fake discounts irk consumers

Many customers are hopping mad because they say several stores in Jeddah are offering discounts that turn out to be nonexistent.
This comes hot on the heels of the Ministry of Commerce last month closing several stores of a major electronics and appliance retailer for offering bogus discounts.
Meshaal Doaid said he no longer believes the advertising of supermarkets in the city. He said that he recently went to a well-known mall and discovered that there were no discounts as advertised, only a ploy to lure customers.
Doaid said consumers are also partly to blame for this situation because they are remaining silent and not complaining. He said this was giving unscrupulous merchants the license to continue with their criminal actions.
He urged shoppers to ask the stores to show that they have been given permission by the Commerce Ministry to offer discounts. “It is the right of consumers to verify information that affects them,” he said. 
Abdulrahman Basanaini urged the Consumer Protection Association, which operates under the ministry, to issue an online guide of consumer rights to protect buyers from greedy merchants.
Majid Asaad said he regularly monitors discount promotions at several shops, and has found that once shoppers buy the goods they do not get the promised discounts.
Talal Kurd said he recently complained to the ministry about a discount scam at a local supermarket. The ministry subsequently raided the shop and found that he was telling the truth. Kurd said the shop owner returned his money.
Mamdouh Al-Zahrani said that he believes most advertised discounts campaigns are fake and that shops simply want to pull consumers into their stores. He said real discounts are only offered on poor-quality goods, or those not in high demand.
Lawyer Mohammed Al-Suleiman said the ministry must take action against these corrupt practices, particularly during holidays. He said the merchants operating in this manner risk losing all credibility out in the marketplace.
He said the ministry should deploy more inspectors and increase the penalties for unethical business behavior. It should also introduce legislation that would entrench the rights of consumers and ensure the accountability of traders.

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