Historical overview on consumer protection in Albania
Historical overview on consumer protection in Albania, before we start a historical overview on the evolution of consumer rights and their protection in our country, it is necessary to give a definition of this term, in order to be able to get acquainted with the concept and the rights they represent. To define this definition, we must take into account the meaning that European law gives to this concept, for the sole reason that consumer law was born early and is constantly protected by powerful tools and methods from European law or jurisprudence. for years. Moreover, in the conditions 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 that are related to further commercial activities, namely their resale. So, the consumer is the final destination, where the provision of the service, or the provision of the product by the traders or providers of consumer goods ends, as well as the final consumption of these services.
The road to reach this destination by the producer and the recipient or consumer is long and involves the combination of a number of factors and conditions created by states or producers, who must take a series of concrete measures in order to realize the final product for consumption, in full compliance with safety and trade standards in protecting the life and health of consumers. These measures should be designed and undertaken in accordance with international rules and regulations, which determine the safety or health conditions that goods or services must be fulfilled before they can be put on the market for consumption, as otherwise violations of the rights of individuals and their health will be identified.
After the ’90s, with the change of the political system, the Albanian State was involved in another phase of economic and trade development, previously unknown to nature for their organization and functioning or power. In these new conditions created, the legal system had to be changed in accordance with the new principles which would support the organization and functioning of the independent democratic state, in accordance with 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 in order to influence the development of society. In this way the first steps were taken for the development of the market economy, free private initiative, protection of public and private property. The law “On the main constitutional provisions” was supplemented by two laws other constituents, who until the adoption of the Constitution in 1998, played its role. 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 a number of 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 the rights of its consumers, in order 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 control and evaluate the products that were imported for the Albanian consumer.
Among the first laws that protected the consumer in our country was law no. 7643, dated 02.12.1992 “On public health” and the “State Sanitary Inspectorate”, where its main object was the organization and functioning of the State Sanitary Inspectorate. Control includes all types of products, in all its processes and in places where various life activities take place social, economic and cultural. Public health is a social and political concept, which aims to improve health, prolong life and improve the quality of life for the entire population, through the promotion, prevention of diseases and other forms of health interventions. Currently, the legislator has adopted a special act on public health, the purpose of which is to protect the health and promote healthy living of the population in the Republic of Albania, through organized actions, the impact of which is equally distributed in all designated groups.
The Civil Code of the Republic of Albania dedicates a special protection to the consumer, in the provisions related to the compensation of non-contractual damage, providing for the fact that the producers are responsible for the damages caused by the defects of its 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 results in harming the economic interests of the consumer, as a result of 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 special 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 note that the terms of the contract 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 in order to protect the health and interests of consumers, envisaging general principles of risk analysis and protection of consumer interests, in food intended for them and animal feed.Establishment and forecasting of a specialized structure state, such as the National Food Authority aims to best achieve the purpose of enacting this law.
In accordance with this law, the Council of Ministers has adopted an act, which aims to regulate the way of labeling food products offered as such to the final consumer, as well as some special aspects related to the presentation and advertising of them. This decision includes within its scope and food products intended for restaurants, hospitals, canteens, as well as for the social food network.
A specific law on consumer protection in Albanian legislation will be created only in 1997, which aims to protect the health and economic interests of consumers, enabling the placing on the market of safe products. This act lists the basic rights of consumers, their affirmation as positive rights and aims to protect consumer groups. The law sufficiently regulates the obligations of the trader to place safe goods on the market and to inform the consumer about the price, quality or dangerous when placing dangerous goods on the market. Under the analysis of the provisions of this law, 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 basic consumer rights. The law is more complete in the context of unfair commercial practices, in determining the obligations of traders and in relation to unfair terms and contractual compliance. The novelty of this law in relation to the previous law consists in the treatment of some consumer contracts such as: sale and provision of service outside shopping centers, sale and provision of remote service, sale of energy, water and telecommunications services, electronic contracts and Contracts for the term use of real estate, explicitly defining in them the rights and obligations of consumers and avoiding the consequences of abuse by producers.