Consumer protection provisons


The Consumer Protection Law (8/2008) was enacted to answer the demands of the victims of unscrupulous merchants. Previously, protection had been granted under the Law on Combating Commercial Fraud (2/1999).

Traditionally, except for under the 1999 law, in the event of fault or malpractice consumers had little or no recourse against suppliers; therefore, advertisements informing consumers about products included over-exaggerated descriptions. Other underhand practices were also used, such as:

  • the sale of defective or sub-standard goods;
  • the misrepresentation of prices; and
  • negligence over safety standards.

Thus, it became necessary to introduce statutory measures to bring suppliers into line and to make them more accountable to their consumers. The 2008 Consumer Protection Law was enacted at a time when other countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council were also trying to tackle consumer protection issues; around the same time, similar laws were enacted in the United Arab Emirates and Syria.

At the end of 2011, Law 8/2008 was amended by Law 14/2011. This update considers the remit of the 2008 Consumer Protection Law and the impact of the recent amendments.

Consumer protection provisions

The Consumer Protection Law protects the rights of the consumer in actions against a supplier or advertiser of goods – such actions could involve the sale of goods, the provision of a service or the advertising of a service or goods. Article 2 of the law provides examples of how a consumer's rights are guaranteed and also provides for the right to the protection of health and safety when using commodities and services and the right to participate in any society or council related to consumer protection.

Article 3 of the Consumer Protection Law provides that:

"The consumer shall have the right to require fair compensation for any damage to his person or property as a result of buying or using commodities or receiving services. Any agreement to the contrary shall be invalid."

Thus, the onus is on the supplier initially to refund or replace the defective item, as well as to incorporate into any contract the obligation to repair, maintain or offer an after-sale service for the product in question.

The supplier is further obliged not to sell, display or otherwise offer any defective product, and products on display must be clearly marked with all relevant product information. Consumers must be made aware of dangerous items and the supplier will be liable for any non-compliance with health and safety requirements. If a supplier discovers that the product or service is faulty in any way, it must immediately withdraw it from sale and advise the relevant local authorities. For locally produced goods, both the manufacturer and the seller will be jointly liable for losses caused by such fault.

Further, the Consumer Protection Law deals with price: the supplier is legally obliged to display the price of any product prominently. The consumer can also expect to receive a detailed invoice confirming the sale, as set out in the Law on Competition Protection and the Prevention of Monopolistic Practices (19/2006). Under Article 10, it is not permissible for:

"Suppliers to conceal or abstain from selling any commodity with intent to control the market price, or require the consumer to buy a specific quantity thereof, or buy another commodity therewith, or charge a higher price than that advertised."

Further to an amendment introduced by Law 14/2011, Article 10 states that a supplier:

"may not increase the prices of commodities and services without compliance with the rules and controls applied by virtue of a resolution to be issued by the Minister (of Business and Trade)."

Article 18 of the Consumer Protection Law sets down the penalties that unscrupulous suppliers can expect to incur should they contravene the law: "detention for a term not exceeding two years and a fine." Pursuant to the amendments introduced by Law 14/2011, such fine has been amended from between QR5,000 and QR10,000 to between QR3,000 and QR1 million. This penalty is doubled if the supplier repeats the offence within five years of the original infringement. Further, if the supplier fails to advise of a dangerous product, it now faces a fine of between QR15,000 and QR1 million (previously between QR15,000 and QR100,000). However, suppliers that advertise incorrect information unintentionally will be excluded from this penalty if it is determined that the information provided was too technical to verify.

Law 14/2011 further adds that shops that violate the law can be closed for up to three months if repeat violations occur.

If the situation is not corrected within the specified time, local authorities may:

  • suspend a supplier's activities for up to 10 days;
  • destroy any defective goods; and
  • refer the matter to the court for further action.


While the law in Qatar may not yet be as comprehensive as laws in other jurisdictions, it offers consumers the right to be heard and to obtain due consideration. Under the auspices of the Specifications, Measures and Consumer Protection Department at the Ministry of Business and Trade, the increased penalties should act as a deterrent.

For further information on this topic please contact Laura Warren or Jason Majid at Clyde & Co LLP by telephone (+974 4496 7434), fax (+974 4496 7412) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]).