Mhux bl-uzin, bil-kaxxa…

Nirreferi għal sezzjoni tal-artiklu Rajt u Smajt li deher fit-TORĊA tal-15 ta’ Mejju 2011. ‘Mhux bl-użin, bil-kaxxa…’ jsemmi kif aktar u aktar frott qed jinbiegħ fil-kaxxa. Jieħu bħala eżempju l-frawli li qed jinbiegħ bil-kaxxa mingħajr ma tkun taf kemm jiżen.

Home buyers please take note!

The Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority recently issued draft regulations to have in place a comprehensive regime to protect consumers seeking home loans. Regrettably, there seems to be minimal interest in what for me is a vital piece of legislation, which, at one time or another, impacts most of us. Though an important step forward, the proposals by the MCCAA raise various issues.

Has Cinderella’s hour arrived?

In the past two decades or so a myriad of laws have been made by different administrations to protect us consumers. One glaring shortcoming with the growth over the years of new consumer laws was the need to undertake a radical overhaul of the regulatory framework. Time and again, complaints were voiced that the regulatory authorities are poorly resourced, do not have sufficient autonomy and lack the tools to ensure compliance.

Empowering consumers to seek collective redress

The government recently published a draft law on collective redress seeking response from the public. This draft law is an important step which goes some way in addressing a long standing lacuna in Maltese law. The purpose of this draft law is to allow consumers to pursue – together in a single court action – grievances which relate to similar issues of fact and of law.

Education strategy for the consumer

One agrees with the very concept that regulators ought to come up with strategies to address specific issues. This is even commendable if stakeholders are involved. This process acquires greater legitimacy if it is conducted in a transparent manner. Such strategies should ideally form part of annual plans.

Collective redress for consumers

The EU has for the past few years been discussing the introduction of collective redress, though to date no definitive legislative instrument has been approved. Some EU states such as Portugal and France have already introduced collective redress whereas others like Malta still have to do so.

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BEUC, the European federation of consumer bodies, has undertaken a campaign advocating the need of introducing collective redress throughout the EU and as part of its campaign is using a very likeable mascot.

World Consumer Rights Day – a time to reflect

Today is World Consumer Rights Day. It was established to remember the basic consumer rights and through them to become more aware of the difficulties that consumers face on a daily basis. Consumers’ difficulties depend on the markets they face. Thus the focus tends to change depending on the level at which the organisation operates. As a local consumer organisation, the Għaqda tal-Konsumaturi (GħK), we associate ourselves with all three levels – the global, the regional and the local – because of their relevance to local consumers.

Are consumer associations dying?

The Consumer Association consists of a few unpaid volunteers who dedicate their free time to help fellow consumers. The main source of funding is a small annual membership fee, which, even if increased drastically, will still not enable the association to engage full-time professionals.