The Office for Consumer Affairs’ guiding principle is the promotion and protection of consumer rights and welfare. This objective is mainly achieved by fostering a balanced relationship between consumers and traders. Through continuous education and information this Office empowers consumers to deal in the best possible way with the problems they encounter during their purchases. On the other hand, traders and service providers are encouraged to adopt commercial practices that benefit consumers and hence foster healthy customer relationships.
When facing disputes with traders or suppliers of services, consumers may seek the assistance of the Office for Consumer Affairs. This assistance is mainly provided through a conciliation process that is carried out between consumers and traders with the aim of reaching an amicable settlement. Another important role this Office has is that of ensuring effective enforcement of consumer protection legislation. This is mainly achieved through investigation of unfair commercial practices, unfair contract terms and breaches to the Consumer Rights Regulations and by taking the necessary measures for the suppression and prevention of such practices. It also ensures price transparency and compliance with other information requirements as stipulated in consumer legislation.
The Office for Consumer Affairs is composed of three directorates namely:
The Complaints and Conciliation Directorate which is primarily responsible to offer assistance to consumers and provide mediation between consumers and traders.
The Enforcement Directorate which is mainly responsible for ensuring observance of consumer related legislation falling within the jurisdiction of the Office for Consumer Affairs Act.
The Information, Education and Research Directorate which is responsible for disseminating information regarding consumers’ rights, stimulate good trading practices and educating consumers.