Manama: Qatar's municipal councillors have called for a name-and-shame approach to curb abuses by businesses and protect consumers.

However, they said that other measures should be taken before the new policy is put into practice.

"There should first be a warning, then heavy fines followed by the application of the law," the councillors said, local Arabic daily Al Raya reported on Tuesday.

"If the business manager persists with abusing consumers, then it should be named publicly," they said.

Around 800 businesses were last year fined for failing to protect consumers.

"In fact, this figure is well below the real number of cases in which consumers are abused," they said. Inflated prices and selling fake products are the major violations reported to the authorities, the councillors said.

"There is also the issue with some restaurants and coffee shops that tend to include service charges in the bills," they said.

"We wish the people in charge of consumers' protection would reinforce their monitoring of large commercial stores and shopping malls to ensure that prices are not inflated," they said.

Under the proposed name-and-shame approach, those who cheat consumers through higher prices, illegal charges and fake products will have their names published in local newspapers and on broadcast media.