The ‘Ghaqda tal-Konsumaturi’
The Ghaqda tal-Konsumaturi was set up on 3rd April 1982. It is the only consumers’ association on the Island. It is recognised under the Consumers’ Affairs Act of 1994. Previously it was recognised under the Consumers’ Act of 1981. It is a voluntary organisation and has a democratic structure in the sense that all officials are elected annually directly from the membership. It is financed solely by membership fees. The membership fee is nominal (€5 yearly) as we try to cater for those with low education, pensioners and those with special needs. We do not receive any assistance from the government.
The Ghaqda has 4 main principal areas of activity:
It acts as a representative for the local consumers. We represent the local consumers on several national Boards amongst them the Malta Competition and Consumers’ Affairs Authority, the Medicines Committee and the Consumers’ Affairs Council which is a national board whose primary function is to advise the Minister responsible for consumer affairs on policy and legislation. We also represent consumers on other boards mainly the Users’ Boards of Public Utilities. We also represent the local consumers in international fora especially at the EU level.
The second area of activity is educating the consumers. This is one of the main activities that we have always embarked on. We believe that it is better to educate consumers as only educated consumers can make good choices and be aware of their rights. The Consumers’ Association was instrumental in making the concept of consumer understood. We have also succeeded in making business owners accept that consumers have rights.
We try to reach consumers through our website and also through the media by participating on local radio talk shows and other programmes of general interest. On one radio station, we have a half an hour programme every fortnight.
The third activity which was our first is client services. The basic aim is to get redress for aggrieved consumers. We believe that this is a very important aspect of our work as it assures:
(a) redress to the aggrieved consumers;
(b) that we are close to our members;
(c) that we are aware of what is going on in the market
The bulk of our resources are allocated to this activity.
The last area of activity is being a pressure group. There are two sides to this activity. First, we forward our views on new pieces of legislation. Nowadays, we are practically involved at all stages of the consultative period. This year we were involved in three important pieces of legislation, the legislation setting up the new consumer authority, the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority, new legislation on home loans and thirdly, legislation on the introduction of collective redress. Secondly, by putting forward the Consumers’ view on current issues which directly affect consumers. The Ghaqda tal-Konsumaturi has recently become an important player on current issues especially on present competition issues.
We are also a member of BEUC and the Consumers’ International.
47A, South Street, Valletta, Malta
Office Hours : Wednesdays 10:00am – 12:00pm
Tel: +356 21239091