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Service with a Smile Award launch

Parliamentary Secretary for Consumer Protection and Valletta 2018, Deo Debattista (fourth from right), addressing the media during the Service With a Smile 2018 Award launch.

Parliamentary Secretary for Consumer Protection and Valletta 2018, Deo Debattista (fourth from right), addressing the media during the Service With a Smile 2018 Award launch.

Earlier this week the Office for Consumer Affairs within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority announced the launch of the fourth edition of the Service With a Smile Award.

“This competition gives consumers and business owners the opportunity to strengthen their relationship. In fact, the aim of this competition is to promote business practices that are beneficial to the consumer,” Parliamentary Secretary for Consumer Protection and Valletta 2018 Deo Debattista said during the launch of the award in the presence of Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority chairwoman Helga Pizzuto.

With this competition, business owners who respect consumer protection laws and who go out of their way to help customers will be duly recognised.

“Consumer loyalty plays an important role in the future of a business and determines whether it prospers or fails. Nowadays, we are facing strong competition in the market, both from local business owners as well as international ones, and the consumer has become much more powerful,” Dr Debattista said.

He encouraged consumers to participate in this competition and local companies to promote it.

“This competition should be a tool with which to recognise the best local companies and encourage more to improve their services as this, undoubtedly, results in further economic success,” he added.

Ms Pizzuto said this award reflected the importance the authority gave to a better and stronger relationship between consumers and traders, thus leading to fewer disputes between the two. In fact, the MCCAA has seen a significant decrease in complaints, with dispute figures falling by 25 per cent in three years. This indicates increased awareness of consumer rights and a healthy competition to the benefit of consumers.

She added that the authority believed in the importance of keeping in close contact with everyday problems consumers encountered during their purchases.

Through the MCCAA’s website ‘Flag a concern form’, consumers have the possibility to report any possible irregularities on the market. This form is also available on the Konsumatur app.

Like last year’s edition, this year’s competition would cover five main categories of sellers: online local seller; businesses that offer services within the travelling sector; businesses that sell electronic products and household goods; supermarkets and minimarkets; and retail outlets that provide products and services in the fashion and beauty sector. The competition, open until July, may be accessed through the MCCAA Facebook page or website at www.mccaa.org.mt.

Consumers may vote multiple times, even within the same category, but they can only vote for the same seller once. By participating in this competition they become eligible to win one of six cash prizes of €100 each. These prizes are drawn every week during the competition period and will be given to the winning participants during the Service With a Smile Award ceremony.

When the voting period comes to an end, sellers who receive most votes in each category will be vetted by a jury to ensure that they meet the criteria of the award’s code of conduct.

The winners of the five categories will be announced during an award-giving ceremony and will each receive a trophy and a certificate. The winners may also use the Service With a Smile logo in their retail outlets and on their promotional material.

For more information, e-mail info@mccaa.org.mt or call 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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