Informed Consumers Drive the Market
In the framework of EU Twinning project “Strengthening of capacities of the Consumer Protection Commission and its Technical Secretariat” Consumer Protection Commission of Albania together with colleagues from Lithuania and the help of Canadian Institute of Technology in Albania carried out a conference “Consumer Rights Awareness: Empowering Consumers to Make Well-informed Decisions” where governmental institutions, business representatives and non-governmental organisations were invited to discuss the most common issues on consumer awareness raising.
During the conference representatives of Lithuania Aurelija Giedraitytė and Giedrė Nenartavičiūtė presented results of consumers’ and businesses’ surveys regarding their knowledge and perception of consumer protection in Albania. Surveys showed that more than half (70 %) of Albanian consumers think that they are aware of their consumer rights, but around 80 % claimed that they did indeed experienced consumer rights violations in recent year. Nowadays consumers are active part of the market so it is necessary for them to be aware of their rights and duties in order to make informed decisions.
Baiba Vitolina, director of Consumer Rights Protection Centre in Latvia shared Latvian experience in strengthening consumer rights awareness and presented the main issues that have to be tackled in order to reach consumers and educate them on consumer rights.
Representative of Bank of Albania, Arlinda Kolenico drew attention to consumers’ financial education and its’ importance in fast moving world that we all live in. Bank’s of Albania perspective of educating consumers in specific field is a fine example of sectoral consumer education.
Civil society’s representative explained non-governmental organizations’ input in consumer awareness raising and promotion of consumer rights. She also stressed out the need for better cooperation between governmental and non-governmental organizations in protecting consumers.
Consumer awareness raising is a key attribute of consumer rights protection since only informed consumers can make informed decisions.