Consumer Protection

I consider Consumer Protection a major benefit to modern day life. It provides us with a valid tool to protect ourselves from cheap “similar” products from the Far East; which I may add, are often sold as EU originals. Shirts are a key example, Italian names, with Italian prices, but with origins that are far from our shores.

Housewares and kitchenware products are no different. Do we really know what we are buying from sourced Far Eastern products?

In these days, we have heard a lot about “political” and “financial” union within the EU; but we do not hear about a Union of EU Consumers. In fact the level of Consumer Protection varies greatly from country to country.

As an example, take a look at BT UK. In the UK it is a highly respected telecommunications company that offers service and quality. BT Italy instead is the opposite. It offers a bad and antiquated broadband service (only 7mega!), and where it’s clients have very little chance of protest. BT Italy does have a “web care”, but complaints are seldom answered.

It does seem to me that we are living in an age where international groups have the luxury of being able to avoid their clients at all times, especially if they have already paid.

When I receive a valid complaint from my clients or from my client’s client, I do my best to put it right. However no all complaints are always valid.

I remember a case some years ago. We had a client in Germany that bought our model Limpida, the basic 4 items, plus the serving items.

We started to receive an ever increasing number of complains. It was only when we were able to examine the items being returned that we realized that the items in question were not ours, but Chinese copies. People were returning the rusting Chinese versions to our client’s store and obtaining a replacement!

I, and many of my colleagues have been fighting Brussels for many years, for more legislation against Chinese imports, but Brussels has often been reluctant to act, preferring to put our health at risk rather than cause an international incident with China.

China does have a very bad track record for using dangerous chemicals and/or using uncertified materials. Is it too much to ask to have our health protected?

By J L Aldridge – Personal View

 

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