Protecting consumers:Buyer beware! [Archives:2003/686/Local News]

November 17 2003

Yasser Mohammed Al-Mayyasi
Sana’a, Nov. 15 — A number of misbranded and expired goods and commodities have been recorded by the Yemen Society for Consumers’ Protection.
The recorded products are foodstuff, medicine and other goods, which poses a real threat to human health, the consumer, and the national economy.
Two kinds of products are detected and differentiated by the society. This first kind has been still kept by the society including some samples of foodstuff and medicines.
The second kind is related to goods and luxury articles such as, electrical, electronic and household equipment, detergents and cosmetics.
“Those fabricated goods are cleverly produced such as foodstuff, medicine, electrical appliances, textiles, clothes, leather products, spare parts, and other consumer products which have gained the trust of local consumers,” a statement from the society said.
Consumers can not distinguish the proper products from the fabricated ones.
The statement has called for an immediate move from official bodies to withdraw the fabricated goods from markets. This is because those bodies alone could detect and control those cases including misbranded or fabricated goods.
The Yemen Society for Consumers’ Protection has recently lodged an official memo to the Vice Prime Minister Minister, the International Cooperation and Planning Ministry, and the Chairman of the Medicine Foodstuff Safety where a committee was formed a couple of months ago.
The committee was entrusted with reviewing all the consumer-related issues.
The statement has called that committee for performing its role efficiently and wished other bodies to do the same in order to fight all negative phenomena from being penetrated into our markets.
The weak purchasing power of Yemeni consumers and low level of income have made them restore to cheaper products without being advised of good rather than bad products.
The need for cheap product leads most Yemenis to buy what they are offered and the role performed by the Yemen Society for consumers’ Protection is praiseworthy.
Economists on the other hand warned against risks and diseases caused by those products such as health diseases and negative impact to the national economy.
“Commercial counterfeiting and smuggling does not endanger only consumers’ lives but damage the reputation of the local products and make dubious their prices when there are similar and cheaper ones,” an economic expert remarked.
On his part, Yahya al-Bukhaiti, chairman of the Market Research, Studies and Consumer Center said that prices of clothes have been jacked up during the lesser Barium in Yemeni markets.
“Clothes are sold at high prices and this has taken place in the absence of monitoring. Those clothes don’t feature good quality and therefore they are bought from wholesalers in a cheap prices,” al-Bukhaiti remarked.
“Clothes are easier to fabricate or to misbrand and therefore, local consumers are deceived,” al-Bukhaiti concluded.
Media should participate in campaigns aimed at educating consumers on the dangers of expired products such as chocolate, drinks, bottled milk, honey, beverages, sweets, drugs, biscuits, cigarettes, etc.
Protecting consumers is a national duty and responsibility because it means saving the nation’s lives, economists said.