BlogEntrepreneurship & BusinessLegal ResourcesOn Consumers Protection Law: A Guide to Businesses

August 14, 20210

There is something you should know about this post: it has been written inspired by a real-life experience. 

A business trip in Kosovo: I was in a coffee shop, waiting for one of the clients for the usual business meeting. Suddenly my phone beeps. ‘It must be her.’, I thought as I opened the message. 

           “Dear Customer, if you encounter irregularities while purchasing goods or services, complain to… (providing there the name and the web- page of the Institution).”

I was impressed! The first thought was “Ah, strong marketing! Nice!”. However, it took me less than 10 seconds to realize that actually, it was a message from the government authorities. Maybe this is how you truly take care of your citizens: You inform them about their rights! 

After the event, I checked the Albanian legislation on Consumers Right, as amended in 2018. The 63 dedicated articles on customers rights. Perhaps, the customers might get better protection by educating the active party: the merchant/ the businessperson/ the entrepreneur (the label is what matters the least). 

The following paragraphs are a legal analysis of the law on consumer protection, elaborated in the form of a guide to any person involved in doing business.                                                                                   …

The establishment of a consumer-based society changed the Corporate’s concept over the ethics of business doing.  Ever since 1960, firms have practiced business-ethics in various ways. At first, trade was conducted respecting good morals. Nowadays there are formal legal requirements which traders should comply with. Regardless of how each company estimates the “ethics on business”, their conduct on the market is framed by respective State’s laws on business behaviors. Nevertheless, various data show that businesses oriented to “ethics on business” are more lucrative than the ones that operate on the market by following unethical practices.  

Ethics on business is not a philosophic term, nor a long- standing one. Contrariwise, it:

  • Orient businesses on following fairer competition practices on the market.
  • Protects the consumer.
  • Assists States in the development of national laws and regulations. 

The European Union (EU) implemented all the above mentioned by adopting the “On consumer rights” Directive in 2011 (2011/83/EU). This legal act served as a cornerstone for the development of the EU’s consumer law. It also set new standards in the Albanian Law “On Consumer Protection”. The 2018’s  legal amendments partially harmonized our law with the EU directive.  

Regardless of the title of the law, its focus of attention goes beyond consumer’s best interests. All businesses trading goods and services should have knowledge of it, in order to maximise their wealth and market’s position.

Having legal rights and not knowing them is the same as not having them.  As a business owner, not knowing your rights is always about costs – money and time. Lack of legal knowledge might cost you loss of money. Here is everything you need to know about any solution to your legal problems. 

Know your Client

In a consumer society, any consumer is a client. Our law defines it as “any person who buys or uses goods or services to meet his personal needs, for purposes not related to trading or professional activities”. 

His/ her attitude towards a Company or its goods and/ or services might be influenced by various personal factors, such as: lifestyle, personal income, external influence from advertisements and the price of the goods and/ or services. 

In case you want to be competitive on the market, and convert any random consumer as your returning client, be fair and informative to him/ her. 

Being Informative 

There are various ways of how an entrepreneur can provide accurate information to its clients. The right way is by following legal requirements. Here is how its done:

  • Provide to the consumers complete and accurate data on goods and services.
  • These data must be true, accurate and clear. Reflecting all the characteristics of the goods and services, and the terms of trading.

Data must indicate:

  • Nature
  • Identity of the manufacturer
  • Price and quality
  • Quantity
  • Usefulness
  • Origin
  • Term of use
  • Manner of production and use
  • Manner of maintenance  
  • The warranty of goods and services
  • Risks related to goods and services, and
  • The general terms of the contracts offered to the customer.

Displaying the label in a product – is another way of being informative to your customers. The goods for sale should be marked in Albanian language, visible and understandable on these elements, the:

  • Name of the goods
  • Address of the manufacturer and / or importer
  • Mark or any other distinguishing mark of the manufacturer, importer or supplier
  • Weight, quantity, size or dimensions
  • Selling price, always expressed in Albanian Lek (or relevant currency)
  • Information on the minimum lifespan or expiration date
  • Any other information necessary for the identification or use of the goods/ service

Additionally, always provide your customer with a tax coupon/ tax invoice for the goods sold or the services provided. Also, make sure to inform your customers that he/ she is obliged as well to receive the tax coupon/ tax invoice. 

As a matter of law, always sell the goods packed in a convenient and safe manner. Always, make sure to regularly check the language of data and information provided in the label –  it must always be in Albanian language. 

Caveat venditor (Latin: Let the seller beware) on how he/ she can engage in fair practices.

Stay tuned with Legit blogs to learn more about entrepreneurship and markets.

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