Raising awareness about the importance of consumer protection and strengthen consumers' rights in today's dynamic markets.
The MCCAA organised a half-day conference on World Consumer Rights Day, themed "Strengthening consumers' rights in today's dynamic markets." The conference discussed how the new legal framework, The Modernisation Directive, better equip consumers to face the challenges they encounter in today's evolving markets.
In her address, Hon. Julia Farrugia Portelli highlighted how important it is that consumer protection legislation evolves in sync with consumers’ buying behaviour and needs. Minister Farrugia Portelli emphasised the importance of education and awareness when new regulations come into force. Consumers need to be aware that the new consumer protection rules impose new additional information requirements on online markets, enhance their rights when subscribing to ‘free’ digital services, enact new requirements for ranking and search results, and also regulate online consumer reviews that expressly prohibit fake reviews or any form of manipulation of consumer reviews.”
Hon. Rebekah Borg remarked, "As the world moves towards an increasingly digital future, the traditional way of discussing consumer rights is quickly becoming outdated. By combining strong legislation with effective education, we can create a safer and more equitable environment for all consumers."
The MCCAA Chairperson Inġ. Helga Pizzuto said that the 15th of March has become an annual international event where global awareness is raised about the rights and needs of consumers. Inġ. Pizzuto explained that the conference brought together important stakeholders to discuss the recent legislative changes in consumer law and how the new rules better safeguard consumers’ interests.
To better understand consumer behaviour and psychology, academics from the University of Malta and Anglia Ruskin University, explained the challenges and opportunities of digital consumerism and internet-based shopping behaviour.
The impact of the new rules on both consumers and businesses was debated in a panel discussion involving representatives of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, the Malta Chamber of SMEs, the MCCAA and a legal expert on consumer affairs. The panel also discussed the adequacy of the new legislation and the challenges it presents to regulators from a legal enforcement perspective.
The conference provided a platform for stakeholders to discuss the challenges and opportunities of the new legal framework and collaborate to ensure that consumers are adequately protected in the evolving markets.