Less Money for Consumer Protection in Slovenia

By , 14 Mar 2018, 16:54 PM Business
Less Money for Consumer Protection in Slovenia Wikimedia - US FDA

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Consumer group also warns on online frauds targeting emotions, vanity, and the desire to save money. 

STA, March 14, 2018- Head of the Slovenian Consumer Association (ZPS) Breda Kutin has warned ahead of World Consumer Rights Day that the situation in Slovenia is worrying. The economic crisis has considerably cut the funds for this purpose, and there is misunderstanding about why people need consumer protection at all, she added.

The crisis has considerably reduced public funding in the field of consumer protection as well as for analyses, inspections and similar mechanisms, Kutin told the press in Ljubljana ahead of World Consumer Rights Day, marked on 15 March.

"It is not easy to turn things around," she said, regretting that consumer protection in Slovenia is understood as "unnecessary cost". Kutin believes that the situation could improve with the new EU document on consumer protection and the upcoming general election.

The document aiming at bringing consumer protection to another level also brings new commitments for Slovenia, but Kutin warned that the document would have to be implemented in practice. We need cooperation between ministries, supervisors and regulators, she added.

Kutin also sees opportunities for improvements in the upcoming general election. She noted that the current coalition agreement did not mention consumers, and that decision makers had no intention of drafting a new national programme for consumer protection.

The ZPS will send to political parties questions and proposals for measures to boost consumer protection in problematic fields, and the public will be informed about how they responded to the initiative.

This year's World Consumer Rights Day is dedicated to digital markets, running under the slogan "Making digital marketplaces fairer". Boštjan Okorn of the ZPS said that digital market was very open, which made it vulnerable to fraudsters.

Okorn said that fraudsters bet on what people find the most important - emotions, vanity, desire to save money and similar. He believes that not even the present generations in schools are taught enough about the traps of e-commerce.

In Slovenia, the ZPS has detected three main problems - package deals for telecommunication services, internet access speeds and aggressive marketing of services over the phone.

The association receives thousands of complaints from its members every year, added Majaž Jakin of the association's legal service, adding that dentists and ophthalmologist have become a problem lately as the complaint procedure was very unclear.

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