Historical overview of consumer protection
Historical overview of consumer protection
Before we start a historical overview of consumer rights’ evolution and their protection in our country, it is necessary to define this term to get acquainted with the concept and the rights they represent. To determine this definition, we must consider the meaning that European law gives to this concept for the sole reason that consumer law was born early and is continuously protected by powerful tools and methods from European law or jurisprudence for years. Moreover, when our country aims at its membership in the large EU family, it is an essential condition for the approximation or harmonization of our constitutional legislation with the terms or concepts protected and established by European international law.
By consumer term, European jurisprudence means any natural person who buys and uses goods or services to meet his own needs and not for purposes related to further commercial activities, namely their resale. So, the consumer is the final destination, where the provision of the service or the product’s condition by the traders or providers of consumer goods ends and the final consumption of these services.
The road to reach this destination by the producer and the recipient or consumer is long. It involves the combination of several factors and conditions created by states or producers, who must take a series of concrete measures to realize the final product for consumption in full compliance with safety and trade standards in protecting consumers’ life and health. These measures should be designed and undertaken by international rules and regulations, which determine the safety or health conditions that goods or services must be fulfilled before being put on the market for consumption. Otherwise, violations of the rights of individuals and their health will be identified.
After the ’90s, with the political system’s change, the Albanian State was involved in another phase of economic and trade development, previously unknown to nature for its organization and power function. In these new conditions created, the legal system had to be changed by the new principles which would support the organization and functioning of the independent democratic State by the best democratic standards of European countries. Law no. 7491, dated 29.04.1991
“On the main constitutional provisions” is the first act of a new pluralist system, which affirmed that the main principles that will support the organization and functioning of state bodies are: the principle of separation of powers, sovereignty belongs to people, respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms, political pluralism, equality of citizens before the law. This law recognized private property for the first time in many years; stimulated free economic initiative and the right of foreign natural and legal persons to invest in Albania to influence society’s development.
The law “On the main constitutional provisions” was supplemented by two other constituents laws, which played its role until the Constitution was adopted in 1998. In 1991 we noticed that the country’s diplomatic relations with the European Economic Community (EEC) were established, and in 1992 the Trade and Cooperation Agreement was signed, which necessarily required the fulfillment of several obligations and rights to be respected by the parties. In agreements in the framework of the development of free trade and cooperation between them.
In the new economic framework created, the Albanian State should recognize and respect its consumers’ rights for the products offered to have the quality required by European standards, which must be acknowledged to be controlled and accepted. Widely by member states in it. He had the task of building all administrative capacities and people who could manage and evaluate the imported products for the Albanian consumer.
Law no was the first law that protected the consumer in our country. 7643, dated 02.12.1992 “On public health” and the “State Sanitary Inspectorate,” whose main object was the State Sanitary Inspectorate’s organization and functioning. Control includes all types of products, processes, and places where various life activities occur, social, economic, and cultural. Currently, the legislator has adopted a particular act on public health to protect the health and promote healthy living of the Republic of Albania’s population through organized actions, the impact of which is equally distributed in all designated groups.
The civil code of Albania dedicates superior protection to the consumer in the provisions related to the compensation of non-contractual damage. The producers are responsible for the damages caused by the defects of their products. They also bear responsibility when they publicly deceive about the characteristics of products such as composition, quality, nature, price, identity, etc., thus causing harm to consumers. The third case of liability provided for in the Civil Code is unfair competition, which harms the consumer’s economic interests due to undertaking the policies of producers with one another in favor of their profits and m of public interest.
The Civil Code protects the interests of consumers and when dealing with select contracts. The other two institutes that are regulated by the Civil Code and are part of consumer legal relations is the institute of waiver and the right to withdraw from the contract, in case the consumers consider it reasonable to protect their interests and when they decide to note that the terms of the agreement as they lead directly.
As we move on to the Law “On Food,” 1995, which aims to protect the life, health, and economic interests of consumers, regulating the quality and safety of food products, the way of packaging and marketing, storage, distribution, and marketing of This law has been amended by the law “On food” of 2009, which aims to meet the conditions and requirements of the European Union in the framework of the efforts of the Albanian State to obtain the status of candidate country.
Its implementation protects consumers’ health and interests, envisaging general principles of risk analysis and protection of consumer interests in food intended for them and animal feed. The establishment and forecasting of a specialized structure state, such as the National Food Authority, aims to achieve this law’s purpose best by this law, the Council of Ministers has adopted an act that seeks to regulate the way of labeling food products offered as such to the final consumer and some unique aspects related to the presentation and advertising of them. This decision includes within its scope and food products intended for restaurants, hospitals, canteens, and the social food network.
A specific law on consumer protection in Albanian legislation will be created only in 1997, which aims to protect consumers’ health and economic interests, enabling the placing on the market of safe products. This act lists consumers’ fundamental rights, their affirmation as positive rights, and protects consumer groups. The law sufficiently regulates the trader’s obligations to place safe goods on the market and inform the consumer about the price, quality, or dangerous when placing dangerous goods on the market. Under the analysis of this law’s provisions, we can say that the Constitution aims to protect the consumer, offering him high standards in the production and quality of food he consumes.
The 1997 law was repealed by law no. 9135, dated 11.09.2003 “On consumer protection,” further expanding its scope of application and adding to the list of fundamental consumer rights. The law is more complete in the context of unfair commercial practices, determining the obligations of traders and about unfair terms and contractual compliance. The novelty of this law about the previous law consists in the treatment of some consumer contracts such as sale and provision of service outside shopping centers, sale, and condition of remote assistance, deal of energy, water, and telecommunications services, electronic agreements, and Contracts for the term use of the real estate, explicitly defining in them the rights and obligations of consumers and avoiding the consequences of abuse by producers.