Consumers assured «Emirates Today» that outlets and pharmacies are practicing fraud methods to sell face masks at high prices, as they refuse to provide official purchase invoices to consumers, or that they write in the bill: “public goods”, demanding to tighten control and stop those methods and exploit consumers.

They pointed out that there is a shortage in the supply of gags, in addition to the difference in prices between the sales outlets and the e-commerce platforms, pointing out that some of the sales outlets offer unknown sources and do not carry any data or specifications.

In turn, outlets officials said that setting prices depends mainly on the supply price, which is high in light of the severe shortage in the whole world.

It is noteworthy that the spokesman of the Ministry of Economy, Hamid Rashid Al Muhairi, said in a briefing recently that a binding upper limit has been set for the prices of masks and sterilizers, so that the profit rate does not exceed 5%.

No specifications

In detail, the consumer Amr Ahmed said that a commercial store sells every 30 masks for 90 dirhams, pointing out that these masks are placed in a transparent plastic bag that does not carry any trademark, or data that explains the specifications of the muzzle, its price and the country of origin, pointing out that he had to purchase it. Because there is a shortage in the market.

He added that the sales outlet provided him with a purchase invoice that did not mention the name of the sold commodity, but rather put it under the name: “general terms” or “general commodities”, calling for stricter control of sales outlets and pharmacies, and stopping the methods of fraud and exploitation of consumers.

In turn, the consumer, Amina Issa, drew attention to the existence of a shortage of masks, and that some outlets and pharmacies exploit the need of consumers, and sell them at a high price.

She said that a pharmacy refused to give her a purchase invoice, in that every 50 muzzle is sold at 150 dirhams, while it previously offered outlets at 75 dirhams, confirming that the muzzle itself was previously sold at a price between 50 and 70 fils. And demanded tighter control of sales outlets and pharmacies, to stop this exploitation of consumers.

As for consumer Maryam Sultan, she mentioned to «Emirates Today» that there is difficulty in providing masks, confirming that she had to purchase unknown masks without any data about their specifications. She said that the sales outlet recorded these gags under the name: “General Items” or “General Goods”, and did not specify them by name.

In turn, the consumer Khaled Naim said that he bought masks from websites that were offered at discounted prices, indicating that he bought 50 masks for 66 dirhams, while another online shopping platform offered the amount for 139 dirhams.

He added that he bought the N95 type masks from an electronic platform for 10 dirhams for the muzzle, even though it is sold at more than 30 dirhams in some market outlets.

In the same context, the consumer Youssef Ahmed drew that he found N95 masks in a sale outlet, at a price of 37 dirhams for the muzzle, pointing out that the price was greatly exaggerated, especially since government agencies announced that they were selling for 10 dirhams.

Supply price

In addition, the official in a sales outlet, KD, said that the outlets buy bulk gags and fill them with bags to achieve great gains, pointing out that these gags are likely to be adulterated or manufactured without approved specifications.

As for the official in another outlet, Idris Ibrahim, he said that setting prices depends mainly on the supply price, which is high in light of the severe shortage in the whole world, calling on consumers to insist on obtaining a purchase invoice.

In turn, one of the officials of Lloyd Gags Company, A.M., said that there is a severe shortage of gags at the world level, and therefore, we are forced to accept high prices in order not to have a shortage in the local market, indicating that he does not follow the selling prices in all outlets, and therefore not Know the difference between selling and supplying prices.

The Ministry of Economy

To that, the director of the Consumer Protection Department at the Ministry of Economy, Dr. Hashem Al-Nuaimi, called on consumers to obtain purchase invoices in which the price is clearly stated, and not to buy an unknown commodity, indicating that the past period witnessed closures, fines and warnings to stop raising prices and exploiting consumers, within Extensive control campaigns in cooperation with local departments to control the market.

Al-Naimi called on consumers to be positive and send complaints to the ministry and economic circles in the event of raising prices to investigate them and get to know their true causes.

He pointed out that the markets witnessed the supply of several types of gags during the last period to fill the shortage, pointing out that the whole world is witnessing a shortage in some types, due to the strong increase in demand and the need of all countries to it, in addition to the influence of production capabilities in some countries.

Secret inspectors

For his part, retail expert Ibrahim Al-Bahr said that what happens from some of the sales outlets and pharmacies is a clear manipulation and fraud, because giving consumers invoices in which the high price of muzzles is written or writing expressly “muzzles” in the invoices will lead to violating the outlet. Or even closure, in light of tighter controls by the Ministry of Economy and local economic departments.

He pointed out that some traders are taking advantage of the crisis to achieve significant gains, calling on the concerned authorities to conduct intensive inspection campaigns in all markets, tightening oversight more, using secret inspectors, and facilitating receiving consumer complaints, to tighten supervision over markets.

The sea praised Dubai's economic efforts, pointing out that the department tightened supervision and took strict measures against violators, which led to the return of masks to the markets, with offers being offered to them in a number of sales outlets and associations, and he said: "This is what I saw myself."

Al-Bahr said that allowing sales outlets to sell masks with a profit margin of 5% is perhaps insufficient, indicating that the fair profit rate in light of operating expenses is 9%.