EU protects its citizens through effective consumers’ rights

Consumer rights were the central topic of last evening’s citizens’ debate organised by MEUSAC in Marsaskala as part of the programme of events marking the European Year of Citizens 2013.
BIRKIRKARA, Malta - Sept. 20, 2013 - PRLog -- Participants in the debate themed, ‘Ilkoll Ewropej, Ilkoll Konsumaturi’ had the opportunity to learn more about how the EU is protecting its citizens through effective consumers’ rights.

Dr Irene Bonello, Advocate at the Office for Consumer Affairs, and Ing. Michael Cassar, Head of the Market Surveillance Directorate within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA), spoke in detail about the Directive on Consumer Rights that will be introduced in all EU Member States by June 2014. The speakers also explained how consumers can distinguish safe from unsafe products.

Dr Bonello explained how the new Directive will build on former directives and will enhance consumers’ rights when it comes to: the removal of hidden costs in online purchasing; the removal of pre-ticked options on websites; a 14-day time limit within which a consumer can opt out of a contract of purchase and take the money back; and clearer information on digital content. Dr Bonello emphasized that consumers should read the terms and conditions carefully before committing themselves to an agreement of purchase.

Ing. Cassar spoke about standards that ensure the safety of products. He also showed products that were either removed from the market, or were prohibited from entering the market. This happens for a number of reasons, among which: the absence of the CE mark; lack of information in English or Maltese on the labelling of products; products that are manufactured in a way as to attract children but which are possibly harmful at the same time; and toys having demountable parts that can be swallowed by children. Ing. Cassar also spoke about the importance of manufacturers and sellers giving the right information to consumers so that all risks can be evaluated by consumers before buying products.

Like in the other three debates organised by MEUSAC, participants had the opportunity to air their views on the subject, and among the matters raised were: the differences between the legal two year guarantee on all EU products and the commercial guarantee offered by suppliers; which products should carry the CE mark; the need to be more informed; more places where consumers can present their complaints; and stronger participation by citizens in ensuring their own rights as consumers.

The speakers discussed how MCCAA disseminates information through different mediums to all sectors of society, including in schools so that children grow up aware of their rights as consumers.

They also encouraged the general public to contact MCCAA with any complaint or query on 2395 2000 or, or through MCCAA’s website

MEUSAC Head Dr Vanni Xuereb closed the citizens’ debate by saying that, as the national coordinator for the European Year of Citizens 2013, MEUSAC is committed to disseminate information about EU citizens’ rights. Dr Xuereb stated that, “As EU citizens, Maltese citizens should be aware of their rights and obligations. The EU has helped us improve our standard of living and, where citizens’ rights are concerned, EU membership has had a very positive impact; when we go abroad, we are treated equally to other EU citizens.”

The fifth and final citizens’ debate will take place on Thursday October 3, at 10am in Valletta. The theme for this last debate will be ‘Ċittadini f’saħħithom, Ewropa f’saħħitha’. This series of debates is funded by the EU under the Management Partnership agreement between MEUSAC ( and the European Commission.
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Tags:Citizenship, Rights, European Union, European Parliament, Malta
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Location:Birkirkara - Birkirkara - Malta
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