Cover photo: Reuters
An example is the inconsistent price of the product on the shelf and at the checkout. Or not returning small coins. The merchant is justified by the lack of small coins. The consumer does not insist on getting the epitome of ‘pettiness’.
Every year on the fifteenth of March marks World Consumer Day. In some countries of the world there are still outdated laws, insufficient consumer protection, unfair competition and poor quality of some products. The negative trend continues from year to year. Consumers seek protection of their rights. The number of consumer complaints and complaints is increasing.
From year to year, there has been an evident increase in the number of complaints and appeals from consumers to the Consumer Protection Institution for violations of their rights and requests for protection of rights. The number of complaints in recent years has increased slightly compared to past times. This is a significant indicator of consumer rights violations by manufacturers, service providers, retailers and others.
The number of complaints and complaints is far greater if you add to the continued practice of filing and registering complaints that involve a larger group of citizens. Examples include complaints from users of water and electricity supply about reduced delivery, consumer complaints about newer models of charging various taxes through electricity bills, water supply, and the like. Complainants are usually ordinary “consumer” people. Registered cases are often complex. They have multiple violations of rights violations, further confirming the extent to which consumer rights are threatened.
Almost all economic services (utilities, electricity, water, heating, telecommunications and other services) take place in a monopoly environment and in an unspoken framework, with a flat-rate method of calculating prices. The inability to terminate a particular contract, such as heating, is, unfortunately, an egregious example of a failure to respect the basic principles of contract and consumer law. These are services that can be classified in the same group as basic human rights. These forms of consumer rights violations become the most alarming. So any economic service provider who, through his actions and practices, denies consumer rights, violates the law and consumer rights.
Another example is toxic products on store shelves (toys for children) or changes in the prices or volume of contracted services. The question is, is it the responsibility of manufacturers and retailers or consumers themselves who often choose a product and then do not respond?
According to the Consumer Protection Act, it is regulated in every country that products intended for consumers must be of the proper quality, safe for the life and health of consumers. Comply with health and hygiene and other applicable standards and regulations. It is a rare occurrence for manufacturers to find foreign bodies in products (in foods, especially in meat and bakery products), and the health of such products is questionable.
We are witnessing that some products are toxic. When a malfunction is identified, they withdraw from the market. Manufacturers are most responsible for such phenomena. The Consumer Protection Act emphasized that a manufacturer would be liable for damage caused by a defect in his product in accordance with the provisions of the law governing obligations.
The consumer protection law in each country should be adequate to protect consumers. All standards should be harmonized so that consumers in all countries have equal rights.
State-level consumer protection laws should be a good basis for comprehensive consumer protection. However, from time to time, it needs to be modified and brought into line with directives because of the speed of world market development and the more open market.
They need constant cooperation with the inspection bodies. They have the possibility to report the irregularity to the trader, either verbally or in writing. For example, if the declaration is incomplete or incorrect, if the product is incorrectly advertised, if the product does not correspond to the usual quality. The inspector orders the dealer to withdraw the product from the market. May impose a fine.
We have an example of a mismatched price on a shelf and a cash register. Or the return of cash, when the merchant is justified by the lack of small coins and the consumer does not insist that he not get the epithet of ‘pettiness’. It is fundamental that the consumer knows his rights and should act whenever he feels that his consumer rights have been violated.
In particular, European Union laws provide for a high level of consumer protection. These laws provide, for example, ten basic principles of protection, which represent the lowest level of protection that EU Member States provide to consumers: buy what you want and where you want it. If the product does not work, return it, the high safety standards of food and other consumer goods, you should know what you are eating.
EU food labeling law lets you know exactly what you are eating. Or, for example, contracts must be designed to be fair to consumers. EU companies are not allowed to contract non-consumer provisions in consumer contracts. They may not claim unreasonable sums as compensation when the consumer wishes to terminate the contract. The letter in the contract should not state that you are not entitled to a refund.
The consumer has the right to change his mind. This applies to purchases made online, via TV and other forms of distance shopping within 14 days of receiving the ordered product. Often, the consumer cannot accomplish this because the trader justifies it with reasons that have absolutely no basis in law.
Or product misrepresentation – an example from Sweden where the Ombudsman institutions sued L’Oreal. The company advertised a cream that was labeled ‘wipe away wrinkles’. Court proceedings have been initiated. The court expert proved that this was not true. The company needed to pay millions of dollars in damages to consumers.
Dear consumers, watch what you buy and where you buy. However, always be honest and trust your intuition.