World Consumer Rights Day

Tomorrow, March 15, marks the World Consumer Rights Day, which was established in 1983 by the UN in order to improve the rights of consumers all over the world. World Consumer Rights Day this year is devoted to tackling the issues that affects consumers of mobile services the most.

In order to improve these consumer rights in Serbia, the Ministry of Foreign and Internal Trade and Telecommunications, which is in charge of the consumer protection policy and the EU funded project “Strengthening Consumer Protection in Serbia”, supported the program for fair mobile services, which was initiated by the International Federation of Consumer Associations (Consumer International). The program has sent a clear message to mobile operators that they should provide consumers with quality service at a reasonable price, as well as with fair and understandable contracts, and to operate in accordance with good business practices.

In order to help consumers in exercising their rights, the Ministry of Foreign and Internal Trade and Telecommunications funds the work of four counseling centers for consumers which are led by the associations for consumer protection in Belgrade, Vojvodina, Serbia Šumadija and Western, Southern and Eastern Serbia. It is encouraging that the Association has become more recognizable in its work, so that in 2013, 13,695 notifications were sent, compared to 8,834 notifications by consumers in 2012.

The Department for Consumer Protection at the Ministry, in collaboration with the IPA 2009 “Strengthening Consumer Protection in Serbia”, and the Association for Consumer Protection has, in the previous period, prepared a draft law on consumer protection, after which a public debate was held, and the draft was submitted to the relevant institutions for their opinion. The draft law will be discussed by the members of the new Parliament.

On the proposal of the Ministry in July last year, the Government adopted a strategy for consumer protection for the period 2013-2018. The Ministry is working intensively on implementing the Action Plan for implementation of the Strategy.

The National Council for Consumer Protection held four meetings in the previous year, which were devoted to current issues in the field of consumer protection. This expert advisory body was established, for the first time in Serbia in October 2012, with the aim of improving the consumer protection system and the cooperation of the competent authorities and organizations in this field.