Tomovic: The application allows consumers to report specific violations of their rights

Web and Android applications for the protection of consumers’ rights allows citizens to submit a specific case of violation of their rights, after the registration, if the complaint is valid, it is sent to the relevant institutions, said the executive director of the Centre for Monitoring and Research (CeMI), Nikoleta Tomovic.

This morning, in the morning program on Radio Televizija Crne Gore, she presented a web and mobile application for the protection of consumers’ rights, which was created within the project “Improving capacities of CSOs and the system of consumer protection in Montenegro PROTECT.ME”, funded by the European Union represented by the Delegation of the EU to Montenegro.

Tomovic explained that the application allows citizens to submit a concrete violation of their rights.

“If the complaint is complete, our administrator has to approve it and send it to the relevant institution/s. We put together all answers regarding the specific complaint and put it on the application, so that everyone interested can see all the complaints and all the answers. If incomplete, the complaint will berejected,” said Tomovic.

The application, as she said, allows citizens to submit photos and audio records if they believe that their rights as consumers are at risk.

She reminded that the partner on the project, within which they provide free legal aid, is Center for Consumers’ Protection (CEZAP).

“Lawyers of CeMI and CEZAP provide free legal aid regardless of whether it is a legal advice or further proceeding in the context of judicial instances”, said Tomovic.

She said that CeMI, in the first five days from they day when the application started, received over 50 complaints.

“Most complaints are related to public services (telecommunication services, electricity, water supply, purchase of technical equipment particularly in the part concerning the delivery, respect of deadlines and quality of the goods),” explained Tomovic.

According to her, the current application is created not only to report cases of violation of the rights of consumers, but also to raise awareness of business sector on one hand and of consumers on the other hand.

“So in the section My rights on the application citizens can see their rights. Here are shown some 10 or 15 rights which are the most explicit ones, “said Tomovic.

It is estimated that the system of protection of consumers’ rights in Montenegro is not regulated in an appropriate manner, since the consumers are not protected.

“Our experience shows that consumers do not know actually their rights. On the other hand, employers or business sector do not want to cooperate when it comes to greater respect for the rights of consumers. Law is a system of protection of consumers’ rights that is well resolved, but in practice this is not the case “, said Tomovic.

As she said, consumers in the European Union are very protected.

“These European standards are transferred to our legislation, but implementation is very bad. If you are not satisfied with the product you buy, each cashier will request a receipt, but it is not allowed”, said Tomovic.

She believes that consumers need to know that, over time, they can replace any item for money or for the product, without receipt, because, as she explained, merchants have a copy of the receipt.

“This means that, in the case of complaints, we do not need to have receipts within seven, or within 40 days”, said Tomovic.

Previous studies of CeMI, as she recalled, the Administration for Inspection Affairs does not have enough inspectors who are responsible for this area.

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