Saudi Commerce Ministry outlines app for validating discounts

Establishments need license to offer promotional sales

A Man Using Smart Phone. Image used for illustrative purpose.

A Man Using Smart Phone. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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RIYADH: The Ministry of Commerce has reaffirmed the mechanisms for validating seasonal offers and discounts, outlining its digital solution to the major consumer challenge.

Ministry spokesman Abdulrahman bin Mohammed Al-Hussein said that stores need a license to offer discounts and must display it clearly for the consumer.

Other requirements set by the ministry include identifying the discount percentage and the price of the product before and after the reduction. The ministry also monitors prices to ensure that there is no fraud or misleading advertising.

To check offers and discounts, customers can scan the discount barcode on the “Sales” application, he added.

The spokesperson urged consumers to ensure the reliability of the online store through the ministry website or the “Maroof” platform, so that they are not subject to fraud.

“The method of checking the discounts has high reliability, it is no longer a matter of stickers that can be replaced in one way or another. The cuts have become more and more credible than before,” Hajar, a student at Princess Nourah University, told Arab News.

She added that the “Sales” application gives the customer a wide range of options, and all age groups can use it with ease.

Mohammed Mubarak, a former employee of Saudi Aramco, said he was suspicious of discounts offered by some stores, while confirming that he has never used the “Sales” application.

“I was surprised by some unreasonable discounts in many stores,” he told Arab News.

Fahd Al-Bogami, a member of the e-commerce committee in the Riyadh Chamber, stressed the importance of educating consumers about real discounts.

“In order to be sure as a consumer, you have to enter the discount platform and check whether the discount is authorized,” he told Arab News. “It is important to realize that the Ministry of Commerce penalizes any party that places discounts without obtaining the permission to do so.”

Al-Bogami noted the growing adoption of digital technology by service providers, adding that many people can complete their transactions on their phones.

“This is wonderful. This is not only in the commercial sector, but in education, medicine and others,” he said.

“This gives greater opportunities for entrepreneurs on and the consumer to benefit from each other. Challenges are being overcome through digital solutions.”

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