This is just one of the rights of consumers in BiH, which, unfortunately, the vast majority of the inhabitants of our country are not familiar with, said the executive director of the Don Prijedor Citizens’ Association, Murisa Marić.
On the occasion of World Consumer Rights Day, Marić pointed out that despite the fact that consumer associations and the media talk about the problems and rights of consumers in numerous shows, on portals and on social networks, the inhabitants of BiH are poorly informed and many of them do not know anything about their rights.
State law out of date
She reminded that in BiH, two laws treat this area. The Law on Consumer Protection of BiH was adopted in 2006, and in 2012 the Law on Consumer Protection in the Republic of Srpska.
Marić points out that the state law is long out of date and does not keep pace with the directives of the European Union, and for now there are no indications that a new legal solution is being worked on.
“Citizens living in the FBiH are deprived of many rights that citizens in the RS have because it is about unequal consumer rights for citizens in the same economic space. One of the main differences is the ‘complaints book’ and the possibility of easier and faster exercise of rights in the RS, and the involvement of inspection bodies in solving consumer problems, while the actual jurisdiction of inspection bodies very often in FBiH cannot be easily determined and consumer problems are more difficult to solve.” said Marić.
Consumers in the RS have the advantage that in the first six months they can immediately ask for a refund or replacement of the product, and after six months they can have it repaired first. Then the rights of return or replacement are used until the expiration of the 24-month period, while these provisions are not defined in the state law.
The deadline for the merchant’s response is eight days from the day of the complaint. If the consumer does not receive an answer after eight days, he can turn to the market inspection, which further takes over the case for resolution, Marić clarified the procedure.
One of the most common customer complaints is the different prices displayed on store shelves and the prices at the cash register when paying, and there are also frequent complaints about public utility companies and the prices of the services they provide.
When it comes to online shopping, Marić reminds that this type of shopping is defined by law as distance shopping.
“The problem of consumers throughout BiH is that they buy goods on social network sites, where there is no defined place of purchase, working hours, address, telephone number, form for returning goods and other provisions defined by law, which protect the consumer. Selling via social networks is a negative social phenomenon that significantly affects the gray economy and the sale of various types of goods on the black market, thus causing enormous damage to merchants who are obliged to pay for space, workers, and taxes,” said the director of the Don Prijedor Citizens’ Association, Murisa Marić.
World Consumer Rights Day has been celebrated since 1983 on March 15. The goal of the celebration is to raise global awareness of consumer rights, and at the same time, on this day every year, a specific problem is warned. This year, the topic in focus is clean energy, writes Fena.
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