Strengthening trust between Consumers and Traders
The majority of today’s consumers can no longer be defined as vulnerable beings that need constant protection while shopping for their everyday needs. Consumers have become generally conscious that they have legal rights and most important are aware that no one can take them for a ride and get away with it. If a trader does not play fair during a business transaction there is a price to be paid. First of all consumers may opt to seek redress through the existing legal framework specifically set up to protect them in such situations. But even if consumers decide not to file any complaints, s/he still has the powerful weapon of spreading the word on how s/he was treated by a particular trader. It is therefore in the traders’ interest to gain consumer confidence by first of all observing their legal obligations and by setting up consumer friendly business practices that ensure that customers get what is rightfully theirs.
The achievement of better functioning markets shall be the primary aim of the Consumer Affairs Authority which will be established shortly. The Authority shall strive to build trust in the market place for the benefit of both consumers and traders. By maintaining and encouraging competition and by promoting good business practices, not only consumers will be better protected against foul play, but the honest and fair trader will also see his business flourish and thus succeed over competitors engaging in unfair trading practices.
The education of both consumers and traders about their rights and responsibilities will be one of the main functions of the Office for Consumer Affairs under the new Authority. To generate consumer confidence and minimise as much as possible the amount of complaints, businesses need to be aware of and adhere to their legal obligations. Traders should know that when they sell goods that are not in conformity with the description and specifications agreed to in the...
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