Consumers do not seek protection of their rights

The largest number of respondents, 87.7 percent, did not turn to the state bodies for consumer protection, while the return of change is in the last place as a right that citizens consider theirs, according to the results of a survey conducted by the Ministry of Economy.
The head of the Ministry’s Public Relations Bureau, Marina Šaković, said that in March and April this year, the Ministry conducted a research that included a survey of about one thousand respondents in 23 municipalities, in suburban, urban and rural areas.
“We have been doing comparative experiences with 2011, from which is evident that citizens are more aware of the existence of the Consumer Protection Act,” Šaković said at a news conference at which the results of a consumer rights survey in Montenegro were presented.
The survey was conducted in March and April as a part of the EU-funded project AIM II, Technical Assistance to Harmonisation and Enforcement of the Internal Market Acquis – Implemented by IBF International Consulting.
Šakovic said that, according to the data obtained, two-thirds of respondents know that the Law on Consumer Protection was adopted in Montenegro, while the level of familiarity of the respondents with other laws in the field is lower.“In the part of the research related to consumer rights recognition, respondents perceived as the most important consumer right the right to claim a product and then the right to get a fiscal bill. The return of the change is in last place”, said Šaković. She said the poll showed that only 12.3 percent of respondents turned to state authorities when they felt their rights were being threatened.General Director of the Directorate for Development of National Brand and Consumer Protection in the Ministry, Jovo Rabrenović, said that the goal was to see how consumers perceive their consumer rights, or how much they understand them.”The additional goals were to see how much consumers are aware of the Consumer Protection Act and also how familiar they are with other consumer protection laws,” Rabrenovic added.
AIM II project leader Matjaz Logar said the project began in November last year and lasts a total of two years.”The overall objective of the project is to facilitate trade and development of the internal market in Montenegro in accordance with the acquis,” Logar said.He added that he was positively surprised by the achieved level of administrative capacity in Montenegro, as well as the adopted way of working in the field of consumer rights protection.
Chief Market Inspector, Nada Đurđić, said that the Inspection Directorate is committed to raising consumer awareness and public awareness of the importance of protecting consumers.“Without an active consumer and an active trader it is not possible to equate, in the exercise of rights, Montenegrin with the EU consumer. This is why surveys that will show us where we are in this area are important. Although Montenegro has done a lot for consumers, it can be concluded that this survey shows that we still have a lot of work to do”, said Đurđić.
Ministry representatives announced that a mobile phone application would be completed by the end of the year so that citizens could respond more easily and file complaints from the spot when their rights were threatened.That complaint will be immediately addressed to the Inspection Directorate. Rabrenović said that very often consumers get a response that their procedure is complicated and that they do not know who to turn to when they feel their rights are being threatened.”To facilitate this and shorten that path, the Ministry has begun activities to develop an application for two types of mobile phones. In addition to the possibility of filing complaints, the application will also have other important and significant information for consumers who will be able to, for example, connect to a system that monitors unsafe products and see their list in Montenegro”, added Rabrenović.
He also announced that he is planning to create a website for consumers,

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