Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Requirements for Offering Promotions

Companies in Oman seeking to entice new customers sometimes design shop-and-win promotions, in which the company offers a prize to the consumer based on some entry submitted by the consumer. Examples of consumer entries may include spending a certain amount of money in a store or shopping center, using a certain bank card, or purchasing a new product. While such promotions are popular, it is important for companies to be aware of the legal restrictions on these promotions before offering them.

First, before offering a prize promotion, it is necessary to obtain permission from the relevant consumer protection authority. The Consumer Protection division of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MCI) is the government body that reviews and approves such promotions. The company seeking to offer the promotion must write a letter to MCI requesting a license to offer the promotion at least 15 days prior to the start of the promotion.

The license application to MCI must include the following information:

  • The type of promotion and how it works;
  • The proposed duration of the promotion;
  • The locations where the company will offer the promotion;
  • A list of the number and types of prizes given to winners;
  • Receipts proving that the offered prizes have been purchased;
  • The time, date and place of the final draw; and
  • The mechanism for the draw, e.g., whether by lot or by an electronic draw.
Last, if MCI allows the company to offer the promotion, the company also must display reasonably the terms and conditions at the place(s) where the promotion is taking place.