PUBLIC HEARING ON DRAFT LAW ON CONSUMER PROTECTION

 

Trade Association of the Belgrade Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with the Ministry of Trade of the Republic of Serbia, organised on October 27, 2009 public hearing on the Draft Law on Consumer Protection that is expected to be adopted in November and to enter into force in early 2010. The participants from the Ministry were Assistant Minister - M.Sc. Ljiljana Stanković, Secretary of State - Dragan Jaraković, team of professionals who participated in drafting, as well as Mrs. Ruth Anna Beattner on behalf of the ZAP project. The EU supported the drafting of the Law by financing the project ZAP. The hearing also included public companies, big trade chains, banking sector, tourist organisations, SMEEs - retailers, trade associations and consumer organisations.

                 

M.Sc. Milan Janković, President of the Belgrade Chamber of Commerce considers this Law to be one of the most important ones, not only because it protects the rights of consumers but also because it represents the foundation of all other rights related to trade which is one of the strongest cohesion factors on the global level. Serbia needs to establish legal framework for regulation of this area since it will lead to better and higher-quality production, more competitive products, certified products that can be placed on foreign markets.

                                                                             

Dragan Jaraković sees the Law on Consumer Protection, in the first place, as one of the mandatory requirements for the EU accession. The Law incorporates 15 key directives of the EU that assure high level protection to consumers, while most of the liabilities are borne by sellers. Associations of consumers, as partners to both the buyers and sellers, should have an important role in implementation of the Law.

 

Ljiljana Stanković defines the prime reasons for creation of the Law as follows: to observe the consumer protection as a strategic issue and to achieve compliance with the EU regulations. The Law regulates providing of information to consumers and assures protection to a buyer in commercial contracts with a seller. The participants were informed about rights of consumers in terms of unfair contractual provisions, special rights in contracts of sales of goods or services, and sales of tourist arrangements. They also learned about tasks and powers of the Ministry, consumer protection at local level, market monitoring and inspection. In order to speed up and simplify settling of customer claims and also to increase the efficiency of the action, Centre for Settling of Consumer Disputes, as an independent and non-partisan organisation  will make all possible efforts to resolve the disputes outside court (through reconciliation or decision procedure based on this or other laws).

 

The representatives of Elektroprivreda Srbija made objections to the provisions of Article 87.