Monday, September 22, 2014

Promotional Offers in the Sultanate of Oman

Promotions and Promotional Offers are governed and regulated by Ministerial Decision No 239 of 2013 (“MD 239/13”) of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (“MOCI”).

According to MD 239/13 Promotional Offer is defined as “any scheme that provides offers that promote a specific commodity or service during a specific time in return for giving the consumer a prize, gift, service or any other benefit”.

Whilst MD 239/13 applies to all types of promotional offers, the law exempts the following promotional offers:

  1. Promotional offers organized by fast food restaurants around the year;
  2. Offers of commercial malls and gifts that are lodged with the product as one package provided that the MOCI approves the advertisement and stickers of the offers before the offers are launched; and
  3. Promotional offers which are conducted by the malls on festivals or establishments on opening a new branch for the duration of one day. The company may require notifying the MOCI prior to the launch.

In order to endorse a promotional offer, the promoter is required to obtain a license from the MOCI prior to launching the same. Consequently, the promoter would be required to seek the prior approval of the MOCI to the terms and conditions of the offer.

Promotional offers may be conducted a maximum of four times per year with a period of two months per single promotional offer.

All promotional offers related to draws should ensure that all of the following conditions are fulfilled:

  1. The raffle box is transparent and a suitable size for the number of coupons;
  2. The raffle box is rotatable so that the coupons can be easily mixed; and
  3. The raffle box is tightly closed during the offer procedure.

As for the prizes, the gifts must be ready before the raffle, guaranteed and free of defects. If the reward exceeds OMR 5,000, a payable check approved by at least one bank in Oman should be presented. The number of winning coupons and the names of the winners shall be published in two daily newspapers, one of which must be in Arabic.

A winner of a promotional offer has three months to claim their prizes starting from the date of announcement in the newspaper. Failing which, the unclaimed prize will be allocated to the civil societies in the Sultanate.

MD 239/13 strictly prohibits promotional offers on tobacco or tobacco products.

Finally, any promoter violating MD 239/13 shall be deprived from conducting any promotional offers for a period of one year from the date of the violation. However, the promoter may appeal against this decision to the Minister of the MOCI within 60 days of being informed of the violation.