Monday, 17 August 2015

“Get your Change in Cash” campaign for Saudi Shoppers

Admit it. It happens all the time. We all often receive candies and chewing gums from shopkeepers in return of cash. And the very next moment we hear from him the cry of not having ‘change’. In fact all of us experience this unprofessional gesture every once in a while at different shops and most of us find this extremely annoying. Having looked at the shopkeeper with raised eyebrows, all we can do is to accept the unwanted stuff, step back and leave with a stare.  With the excuse of unavailability or lack of coins most of the stores and super markets in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are handing over chewing gums and candies to the customers instead of change. It seems like suddenly the whole kingdom of Saudi Arabia is running out of coins.

The good news for Saudi residents is that, other than developing the national economy needs, and enhancing the commercial and economic relations with the world's states, the Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MCI) also takes into account, these minor everyday problems. The MCI has announced to start a campaign named “Take back your money, in cash (not in kind)” in the kingdom, as reported by Sabq news. The campaign looks forward to exterminating the recently set culture of giving small goods to customers instead of cash. This initiative taken by the MCI aims to augment customers’ rights to accept the accurate balance only, as coins rather than small goods like candies, chewing gums etc.

In order to make it work, the MCI has coordinated with Saudi Monetary Agency (SAMA), the central Bank of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, established in 1952 which supervises all the commercial banks, issues the national currency and manages the exchange reserves. This coordination is to ensure the provision of enough coins to the commercial banks, so that they can reach the shops and stores as well. The SAMA has reaffirmed enough availability of coins in the commercial banks, so that no exempt under the pretext of unavailability of coins shall be considered and all the excuses would go in vain.

 Thus, the shops which do not provide change may be held accountable before the MCI, while SAMA can charge the banks on failing to provide it to shops. This campaign leaves the shopkeepers unable to give any false excuses in this context. The customers can immediately report violations to Customer’s Reports’ Center in case of not getting change which they are entitled to.

This campaign will proceed under two phases. The first phase is the ‘awareness’ phase, intended to create awareness among the shops and shopkeepers about being compelled to pay the customers back in coins under all circumstances. Failing to do this can leave them in serious trouble and having to pay fine as well.  Thus, the second phase is a ‘regulatory’ phase whereby, fines will be imposed on violations. The fine might range from 5,000 to 10,000 Saudi Riyal.

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