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Consumer Affairs Seminar - Friday 31st May 2013


Buying with Confidence

A seminar on consumer rights and pitfalls of purchasing away from trading premises

This seminar was held on Friday 31st May at the Mediterranean Conference Centre (Valletta) from 8:30 a.m. till 12:45 p.m.


Seminar Programme


08:00 - 08:30Registration 
08:30 - 08:40Opening Address

Dr. Helena Dalli, Minister for Social Dialogue,

Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties

08:40 - 08:50Introductory Speech

Ing. Francis E. Farrugia, Chairman,

Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority

08:50 - 09:20Distance and Doorstep Selling

Ms. Josephine Borg, Director,

Information, Education and Research Directorate,

Office for Consumer Affairs

09:20 - 09:50European Consumer Centres

Mr. Claude Sammut, Manager,

European Consumer Centre Malta

09:50 - 10:10Question and Answer 
10:10 - 10:40Coffee Break 
10:40 - 11:10Market Surveillance and Product Safety

Ing. Michael Cassar, Director,

Market Surveillance Directorate,

Technical Regulations Division

11:10 - 11:40

Distance and Doorstep Selling -

A UK Perspective 

Dr. Radhia Karaa, Consumer Lawyer,

Consumer Markets Group,

Office for Fair Trading UK

11:40 - 12:10 Consumer Guarantees 

Dr. Irene Bonello, Advocate,

Enforcement Directorate,

Office for Consumer Affairs

12:10 - 12:45Question and Answer and Concluding Address 


Speakers Bionotes 


Ms. Josephine Borg

Ms. Josephine Borg worked in the consumer protection field for the last 28 years. Currently holds the position of Director Information, Education and Research at the Office for Consumer Affairs within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority.  Assisted the Trading  Standards Officer in carrying out enforcement and in Court.  Investigating consumer complaints and mediating between consumer and traders to resolve complaints to the satisfaction of parties concerned.  . Carries out Consumer Education and was instrumental for introducing consumer education in the National Mimimum Curriculum, 2000. Participates in a substantial number of  programmes on all the national TV and radio stations disseminating information and guiding callers during live programs. Wrote numerous articles for  local daily newspapers, school magazines and leaflets. Delivering talks in schools to students and teachers, at  Local Councils and during social activities. Editor of the Department’s newsletter Fair Deal on consumer issues between 1998-2004. Organised various activities to mark World Consumer Rights day for a number of years. Courses attended: University of Malta 1993-1995, Diploma in Public Administration;  Institute of Trading Standards Administration UK – Basic Consumer Advice Course, 12-16th May, 1997 and Advanced Consumer Advice Course, 17th-19th March, 1998;  Faculty of Law Catholic University of Louvaine, Le Neuve, Belgium, Summer Programme in European Community, Consumer Law, 6-16th July, 1999; Institute of Public Administration, Belgium, Keeping Ahead with European Information; Malta Institute of Management, Course in Management Competence.


Mr. Claude Sammut

Mr. Sammut manages the European Consumer Centre of Malta (ECC), a joint action between the European Commission and the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority. He qualified in the UK as a Trading Standards Officer and Inspector of Weights and Measures in 2000 and was awarded the Diploma in Public Administration from the University of Malta in 2004. He has worked at Norfolk County Council Trading Standards Department in the UK and at the Department of Consumer Affairs and subsequently the Consumer and Competition Department after the former’s amalgamation with the Office for Fair Competition in 2001.


Ing. Michael Cassar

Ing. Michael Cassar is the Head of the Market Surveillance Directorate within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority. He has been occupying this post since February 2008.

Michael started his Engineering career as a Ship Repair Manager at Malta Drydocks, in 1988, after graduating from theUniversity of Malta as a Mechanical Engineer. This job entailed the overall management of a ship repair project

After leaving Malta Drydocks in 1994, Ing. Cassar joined the Malta Maritime Authority as a Marine Technical Executive and later Maintenance Manager, in charge of maintenance works on Navigational Aids, load carrying equipment, wharves and premises.

He joined the Malta Standards Authority in October 2002 as an Engineer within the Standardization Directorate. Two years later he was given the role of Lead Auditor/Certification Officer for ISO 9001 and Organic Farming certification. In this position Ing. Cassar was also responsible for the management of Technical Committees drawing up various local standards as well as auditing MSA clients seeking certification to ISO 9001.

Ing. Cassar also represents Malta on European fora on Market Surveillance, amongst them we mention the GPSD Committee, the Consumer Safety Network and Prosafe, and is the Rapex Contact Point forMalta.



Dr. Radhia Karaa

Dr. Karaa is a barrister of 18 years call and prior to working at the Office of Fair Trading was employed as a Crown Court Advocacy Manager with the Crown Prosecution Service. Consequently she has extensive experience in criminal law and civil law and procedure: having managed numerous complex cases, conducted numerous serious youth and Crown Court trials and advised the police on complex; sensitive issues e.g. covert police operations 

 She joined the Office of Fair Trading  in 2010 where she has been responsible for advising on a number of high profile regulatory cases: the prosecution of a mileage correction service provider under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 – resulting in the trader receiving a 9 month custodial sentence;  and she was the legal advisor in Operation Javelin whereby the Office of Fair Trading secured an injunction against Euroteam thereby stopping their illegal selling of Olympic tickets. Ms Karaa received a commendation from the Metropolitan Police in relation to her work in stopping continued harm to the UK consumer.



Dr. Irene Bonello 

Dr. Bonello, an Advocate by profession, provides legal assistance and advice to the Office for Consumer Affairs within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority  (MCCAA) especially with regard to enforcement of consumer protection legislation that includes leading and managing investigations, assisting in the administrative proceedings process, and legal representation and assistance before the Competition and Consumer Appeals Tribunal since the 23rd May, 2011. Prior to the said date, and as from the 18th February, 2008 Dr. Bonello legally assisted and represented the former Consumer and Competition Division (subsequently the Consumer and Competition Department now incorporated within the MCCAA), with regard to consumer protection issues, including enforcement.

After being awarded her Diploma of Notary Public on the 9th April, 1987 by the University of Malta, Dr. Bonello graduated as Doctor of Laws on the 21st December, 1988 at the University of Malta. On the 16th December, 1994 Dr. Bonello has been conferred her Diploma in Canonical Marriage Cases – Jurisprudence and Procedure – by the Maltese Episcopal Conference, and she is enrolled in the List of Advocates of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal.

The legal practice of Dr. Bonello started on the 9th January, 1989 and includes consultancy mostly relative to civil law and commercial law, litigation before the Courts of Justice of Malta and appointments by the Courts as legal expert in several judicial proceedings.

Dr. Bonello is a member of the Chamber of Advocates, Malta.



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