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World Consumer Rights Day: conference on online shopping

On the occasion of World Consumer Rights Day, which is celebrated internationally on March 15, the Office for Consumer Affairs and the Technical Regulations Division within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority will be organising a half-day conference on ‘Making digital marketplaces fairer’.

The conference’s main objective is that of promoting accessible, fair and safe digital markets for consumers.

Almost half of Maltese consumers purchase the goods and services they need online. This high percentage of online shoppers is mainly due to the advantages the virtual market offers, especially to a small country like Malta.

For consumers, online shopping is convenient, less time-consuming, cheaper and offers a wide variety of products and services. Consumers also opt to buy online because it is easier to compare prices and the internet offers easy access to product reviews by other consumers. However, there are still a number of problems online shoppers face. There are factors hindering both consumers and traders from fully exploiting the benefits of the digital market.

The problems consumers and traders encounter when carrying out online transactions, the means of redress consumers have access to when facing problems with a product or service purchased, and ensuring that consumers only have access to safe products are some of the themes that will be discussed during this conference.  Useful tips on how consumers can avoid buying dangerous goods and what to do if they happen to purchase a dangerous product will also be provided.

The conference, to be held on March 15 between 8.30am and 1pm at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta, will be addressed by the Parliamentary Secretary for Consumer Protection and Valletta 2018, Deo Debattista and other distinguished local and foreign speakers. Among these there will be speakers from the European Commission, the MCCAA, MCA, ECC Malta, GRTU and the local consumer associations.

Attendance to this conference is free of charge. Registration to attend can be done online by visiting www.mccaa.org.mt or by calling 2395 2000.

Odette Vella is director, Information, Education and Research Directorate, Office for Consumer Affairs, Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority.

odette.vella@mccaa.org.mt

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