Brand-owners, businesses and marketing agencies which host commercial promotions in Kuwait should be aware of a significant update to the existing promotions law.

The recent Consumer Protection Law (39 of 2014) covers many aspects of hosting a commercial promotion in Kuwait.  Importantly, the new law has updated the parts of the registration process required to host promotions in the country.  Existing laws which may touch on elements of commercial promotion are still in effect, however only to the extent the new laws are silent on those points. 

One of the most notable changes is that a licence is now required for any type of promotion, whether it consists of advertisements, discounts, offers, or otherwise.  Therefore, it applies to any action that promotes a service or product.  In theory, this may even apply to the giveaway of free gifts and possibly even online and social media activity. 

In-line with most other GCC countries' policies, all entries to any draw as part of a promotion should be free of charge, however the purchase of a promoted product may be a condition to enter the draw.  However, the new law now restricts retailers from increasing the price of the promoted products during the three months preceding the promotion.  The rationale is that, if the price of the product were increased during the preceding three months, then the increase in price will be deemed as an illegal payment for entry.  As part of the licence application, promoters should be prepared to provide sales invoices for the preceding months.

The new law requires applications to be submitted for licensing no less than 30 days before the start of the promotion as opposed to only 15 days as required under the old law.  If no decision is given by the deadline, it is implied that the licence is rejected. The decision is open for appeal to the Minister within 30 days from the date of the notification of the decision or the date of the implied rejection.