Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Product Recall in Oman

General Overview of the Law

The main regulation that governs all forms of product recall in Oman is the Consumer Protection Law issued by Sultani Decree No. 66/2014 (the “Consumer Protection Law”). The Public Authority for Consumer Protection (“PACP”) is the relevant authoritative body that oversees and regulates the supplier’s activities.

Article 27 of the Consumer Protection Law requires that the Omani supplier (the “Supplier”) immediately informs the consumers who purchased the commodity or received the service and the “competent authorities” on the discovery of a defect, and immediately withdraws the commodity from the market.

The reference to the “Supplier” means an Oman-based supplier, rather than the manufacturer. There is a need for the Supplier to be an Omani entity that is registered in Oman as it is the responsibility of the Supplier to seek and request for product recall.

The “concerned authority” for the purpose of the Consumer Protection Law is PACP.

The Procedure to Undertake and Seek for Product Recall

In order for the Supplier to recall the defective product, the Supplier is required to:

  • submit a letter to PACP requesting a recall for a defective product;
  • submit to PACP details of the Supplier’s corporate documents; and
  • publish an advertisement in any two local Arabic language newspapers and any two local English language newspapers; the draft template of advertisement should be submitted to PACP for approved before publication.

PACP will then review the Supplier’s request for a recall and inform the Supplier of its decision. If PACP agrees that the product should be recalled, PACP will then request the Supplier to publish the approved advertisement.

As part of PACP’s obligation toward consumers, PACP will also publish the advertisement on its website to notify consumers of the product recall.

Penalties under the Consumer Protection Law

In accordance with Article 40 of the Consumer Protection Law, whoever violates the provisions of Article 27 (being the requirement to inform the PACP) shall be imprisoned for a period of not less than three months and not more than three years and fined no less than OMR 2,000 and not more than OMR 50,000, or shall be punished by any one of those penalties. If the violation results in the death of one or more persons, the imprisonment penalty shall be for at least five years.

Article 42 of the Consumer Protection Law also states that the Chairman and members of the Board of Directors, the Chief Executive Officer, and the authorized managers of the violator shall be penalized if their awareness of the violation is proved and if a breach of their duties has contributed to the occurrence of the violation.

Further, Article 46 of the Consumer Protection Law says that the Chairman of the Board of the PACP may impose administrative fines, provided that the fine does not exceed OMR 1,000. This fine shall be doubled in case of recurrence of the violation. In case of continuous violation, an administrative fine of no more than OMR 100 “may” be imposed for each violation day provided that the total amount shall not exceed OMR 2,000.