14th April 2014 - Sweep 2013: Coordinated enforcement action leads to greater complaince with Consumer Rights on travel websites.
A "sweep" is an EU-wide screening of websites, to identify breaches of consumer law and to subsequently ensure its enforcement. The sweep is coordinated by the European Commission and run simultaneously by national enforcement authorities based on the provisions of the Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) regulation. The Travel Services Sweep took place in 27 EU Member States, Norway and Iceland in June 2013. Websites offering air travel and accommodation or both were checked; wherein a website offering both services was counted twice.
A growing percentage of European citizens purchase travel services online: in 2012, 32% of European consumers with access to internet booked air tickets or a hotel online (Eurostat data e-shopping survey 2012). Travel, tourism and related sectors account for roughly 10% of EU GDP. European citizens made in 2011 more than 1 billion holiday trips, out of which nearly 80% in the EU.
For the press release issued by the European Commission on the Sweep 2013, please click HERE.
13th March 2014 - SBS enters the European standardisation scene
Small Business Standards (SBS) is the association representing European SMEs in the standardisation process at European and International levels. SBS members are national and European sectorial and interprofessional associations representing SMEs all over Europe working in and out of the EU. The work conducted under SBS is mandated and financed by the European Commission.
In the first weeks of March, Small Business Standards set out to increase its visibility towards important actors in the European standardisation environment. Putting forward its priorities in the interest of SMEs, SBS positioned itself as the SME representative. The more SMEs are involved in standards, better is Europe’s chance of having competitive and innovative enterprises.
UEAPME Secretary General Peter FAROSS, representing Small Business Standards (SBS) at the EU Standardisation Working Group 'Operational Aspects and Strategy' meeting on 4th March, emphasised the special importance to have SME friendly standards so as to bring SME innovation to the market. European Commission and Member States representatives, ESOs, NSOs as well as members of the Working Group were informed about SBS objectives, i.e. representing the interests of SMEs in the standardisation process at European level, raising awareness of SMEs on standardisation and motivating SMEs to participate in the standardisation process.
SBS Project Manager Sandrine LAURENT attended the CEN-CENELEC Network of SME Helpdesks’ first meeting on 10th March, organised to maximise support to SMEs, where she underlined SBS’ priorities for 2014 and 2015 as enabling SMEs to be better positioned in the European standardisation process. “There is also a serious urgency in taking out an assessment of SME needs so as to tackle the areas more adequate to SMEs and their position in the standardisation world.” Ms Laurent also reminded participants about the SBS call for experts launched at the beginning of the month with a deadline on 24th March.
It has been an intensive couple of weeks during which SBS presented and defended SME interests, at both European and national levels, towards all involved actors in the European Standardisation world.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Sandrine Laurent, SBS Project Manager, Tel +32 (0)2 285 07 15 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Jenny Manin, SBS Press and Communications Officer, Tel +32 (0)496 520 329 Email: email@example.com
or MCCAA Standardization Directorate – 2395 2000, firstname.lastname@example.org
Consumer Classroom Website launches Second Interschool Competition
The European Commission’s consumer education website Consumer Classroom has launched its second Interschool Competition!
Secondary schools teachers can compete by submitting an interactive activity until April 2nd.
This year the theme is “Online Shopping. Know enough to make the best decisions!”.
The winners will be announced on May 20th 2014.
For more information about the competition, the calendar and the prizes, available in EU official languages, please click here.
19 February 2014 - CEN-CENELEC-ETSI PRESS RELEASE
New European Standard will help to make ICT products and services accessible for all.
The European Standardization Organizations (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI) are pleased to announce the publication of a new European Standard on accessibility requirements for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) products and services. This new standard (EN 301 549) is the first European Standard for accessible ICT. It is intended in particular for use by public authorities and other public sector bodies during procurement, to ensure that websites, software and digital devices are more accessible – so they may be used by persons with a wide range of abilities.
The new European Standard on 'Accessibility requirements suitable for public procurement of ICT products and services in Europe' (EN 301 549) was produced by CEN, CENELEC and ETSI in response to a request from the European Commission (Mandate 376). It was developed by an international team of experts, with the participation of the ICT industry and organizations representing consumers, people with disabilities and older persons.
The new European Standard is complemented by a series of three Technical Reports (TR 101 550, TR 101 551 and TR 101 552). Together, these documents set out accessibility requirements that can be applied to a wide range of products and services related to ICT, including computers, smartphones and other digital devices, ticketing machines, websites and emails. The aim is to ensure that ICT products and services are accessible either directly or through compatibility with assistive technologies such as text-to-speech, so that everyone can access information and use services that are being delivered electronically.
The new European Standard and its accompanying Technical Reports provide a framework for developing a wide range of applications that will make ICT products and services more accessible for the 80 million Europeans who are living with various types of disability. Potential applications include audio and/or tactile interfaces that can be used by visually impaired persons, or hardware such as smartphones and laptops that can be operated using one hand.
EN 301 549 is the most up-to-date standard for ICT accessibility, and it was developed through an inclusive process with the active involvement of relevant stakeholders. While the accessibility requirements are defined in a form that is suitable for use in public procurement, they could also be used in other contexts such as procurement in the private sector.
Luis Jorge Romero, ETSI’s Director General, said: "Addressing accessibility is now becoming an important market-driven necessity and ETSI aims to help industry and operators to avoid creating technologies that exclude users from the information society. We also aim to help increase the quality and usability of products and services for everyone, with standardization processes that ensure consideration of 'Design for All' issues in every newly developed standard if appropriate."
Elena Santiago Cid, Director General of CEN and CENELEC, said: "In CEN and CENELEC, we believe that including accessibility requirements in European standards will deliver both societal and economic benefits – by helping to expand the market for accessible products and services. Public authorities are making significant efforts to ensure that their services can be used by all, and they have entrusted the European Standardization Organizations to support these efforts. We hope that this new European Standard will be widely used, not just by the public sector and ICT suppliers, but also by other companies and organizations."
CEN, CENELEC and ETSI have made sure that the accessibility requirements contained in their documents are consistent with other global accessibility requirements. This will help to expand and open-up the international market for accessible ICT products and services.
For further information contact the Standardization Directorate of MCCAA on e-mail: email@example.com
Launching of Information Kiosks for Consumers and Businesses
The Information, Education and Research Directorate within the Office for Consumer Affairs of the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA) has set up information kiosks at different commercial centres. The Directorate’s officers manning these kiosks will provide information to consumers on their rights and obligations while they are shopping. The officers will also provide information to businesses and sellers.
This pilot project was launched by Dr. Helena Dalli, Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties. During the launch Dr. Dalli stressed the importance of consumer education and that such education should start from a young age both within the family and at schools. Dr Dalli also said that particular attention will be paid to the more vulnerable consumers so that they will also have enough knowledge about their rights.
More information about the information kiosks may be obtained from the MCCAA through its freephone 8007 4400.
2 September 2013 - MCCAA public consultation on European Standard “Beauty Salon Service”
MCCAA is organising an information session aimed at informing beauticians on a European Standard that is being drafted and which will become a Maltese Standard in the coming year or so. The scope of this Standard is to provide requirements and recommendations for the provision of professional beauty salon services.
Beauticians are being invited to this meeting so as to be informed with the standardization process involved, the contents of the standard and to obtain their feedback. Meeting will be held on Monday 30th September 2013 starting at 18.00hrs at:Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority,Mizzi House,National RoadBlata l-Bajda
Attendance is free of charge, but registration is required. To register for the meeting and for a copy of the draft standard please contact:
Ms. Melanie Camilleri: firstname.lastname@example.org; tel: 2395 2414, 2395 2000
MCCAA Offices closed
The Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA) wishes to inform the general public that its offices at Mizzi House, National Road, Blata-l-Bajda, will be closed between the 12th and 21st August 2013.
The general public may still call at the MCCAA offices situated at 47A, South Street, Valletta during normal office hours.
They may also contact the Authority on tel. nos. 21 221901, 21 227070 or on Freephone 8007 4400.
We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. MCCAA offices will re-open as from Thursday 22nd August 2013.
8 August 2013 - Draft Maltese Standard for Public Comment
The Standards and Metrology Institute of MCCAA has made available to the public a draft Maltese standard DSM 3600:2013 "Indoor Play Facilities - Safety Requirements for Indoor Play Facilities and their Management". The draft standard is available for download from HERE.
Comments are welcome up to 31st September 2013. These can be sent to Head of Standardization and will be considered by the Technical Committee before finalizing the Standard. The Draft Standard may be modified before being issued as a Maltese Standard.
14 June 2013 - Public Consultation on draft Regulations providing for the power to waive or reduce the applicable fine in cartel investigations
The Office for Competition is launching a public consultation on the draft regulations providing for the power to waive or reduce the applicable fine in cartel investigations and invites all interested stakeholders and the general public to submit their views. The draft regulations in Maltese and English, together with a background note may be accessed by CLICKING HERE. Comments should be sent to the Office for Competition in writing by 9th August 2013 on the following email address: email@example.com or at the following postal address:
Director GeneralOffice for CompetitionMalta Competition and Consumer Affairs AuthorityMizzi HouseNational RoadBlata l-Bajda. HMR 9010Malta
31 May 2013 - Seminar 'Buying with Confidence'
20 May 2013 - World Metrology Day
May 20 is World Metrology Day, commemorating the anniversary of the signing of the Metre Convention in 1875. This treaty provides the basis for a coherent measurement system worldwide.
The theme chosen for 2013 is Measurements in daily life. In the course of a typical day it is surprising how often measurements come into play, whether (among many possible examples) checking the time, purchasing food or produce, filling up a vehicle with fuel, or undergoing a blood pressure check.
These, and countless other activities in daily life, require measurements of one sort or another. Yet accurate measurements are taken for granted nowadays. Not surprisingly, most people are unaware that in the background there is a worldwide community specializing in metrology, the science of measurements, making sure it all works. Everybody depends on this community doing its job, and doing it well.
Across the world, national metrology institutes continually advance measurement science by developing and validating new measurement techniques at whatever level of sophistication is needed. They also participate in comparisons coordinated by the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM) to ensure the reliability of measurement results worldwide.
Many measuring instruments are controlled by law or are subject to regulatory control, for example the scales used to weigh goods in a shop, instruments to measure environmental pollution, or meters used to bill energy. The International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) develops international Recommendations, the aim of which is to align and harmonize requirements for these types of instruments worldwide.
World Metrology Day recognizes and celebrates the contribution of all the people that work in intergovernmental and national organizations throughout the year on behalf of all.
16 May 2013 - RAPEX Annual Report 2012
The new RAPEX Annual Report from the European Commission for 2012 was published today. In its introduction, the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy Tonio Borg in the introduction remarks that since its creation in 2004, the RAPEX system has been instrumental in protecting European consumers’ health and safety. It has provided the necessary platform for the essential exchange of information on dangerous products between Member State authorities and the European Commission. If in 2011 there was a decrease in the total number of RAPEX notifications, 2012 marks the return of an upward curve. This increase may be accredited to the increased circulation of dangerous products, or, more hopefully, to the tireless determination of the Member State authorities and the Commission to remain vigilant and proactive in the protection of consumer safety.
The increase in notifications may also be attributed to the improved and updated IT system for RAPEX, which better facilitates the work of the authorities in the Member States and the Commission. This year has seen significant updates to the RAPEX system and we continue to strive to improve both the efficiency and the visibility of results through effective follow-up action and communication. The full report can be found at
17th April 2013 - Report on SMEST Workshop held in Malta on 8th April 2013
8th April 2013 - SMEST Workshop in Malta
5th April 2013 - Seminar 'Ghal aktar protezzjoni tal-Konsumatur'
1st April 2013 - Another organization certified by MCCAA against MSA EN ISO 9001
The latest organization to be certified by MCCAA against MSA EN ISO 9001 is Foilplus Self Adhesive Labels Ltd of address KW 18, Corradino Industrial Estate, Paola, Malta and website http://www.foilplus.com.mt
For further information about the MCCAA certification services, kindly click here
14 March 2013 - Towards a Europe-wide database of accidents and injuries
A broad coalition of European organisations (including CEN and CENELEC) has come together to call on the European Commission to propose setting up a Pan-European Accident and Injury Data System. They are convinced that such a system would contribute to fewer accidents and injuries. Moreover, the cost of creating such a system would be more than offset by reductions in health care costs.
Roughly 5.7 million people are admitted to hospital annually as a result of injuries sustained in accidents. 34 million others are treated as outpatients.
41 million injuries per year is not only an extraordinarily high number but also contribute to significant healthcare costs (estimated at €78 billion each year ). 73% of such accidents occur at home or while engaged in leisure, including sports.
Aiming to reduce the number of preventable injuries and also healthcare costs, European business groups, consumer organisations, standardisation bodies and safety promoters together urge the European Commission to establish an EU-wide accident and injury data system.
To mark the 15th annual European Consumer Day, 28 organisations have joined forces to stress the need to tackle the current disorder of data collection. There is a clear need for a system that allows data to be more easily compared acrossEurope.
Trailing more than 30 years behind a proven and successful US-system, an adequately funded single European database would prompt significant decreases in the costs associated with the medical treatment of injuries.
Such a European injury and accident database would require a representative sample of emergency centres to record the cause of such accidents. Using this resource, national authorities would then pool and share the data into a European system, helping manufacturers to adapt their products, providing a basis for public awareness-raising campaigns, assisting legislators and surveillance authorities and standardisers to make more informed risk assessment decisions and developing better product standards.
The Joint Call for a Pan-European Accident and Injury Data System is an initiative of ANEC, BEUC, BUSINESSEUROPE, CEN, CENELEC, EuroCommerce, EuroSafe and Orgalime. This initiative is also supported by ACFSE, AGE Platform Europe, CAPIEL, CECAPI, CECED, ECSA, EFLM, EGMF, ELA, ENPC, ESF, ESTES, ETUI, EuPHA, Euralarm, FENA, FSEU, ILSE, PROSAFE and TIE.
The Joint Call was formally presented this morning (14 March) to Tonio Borg, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, at the European Consumer Day Conference inBrussels, organised by the European Economic and Social Committee.
Elena Santiago Cid, Director General of CEN and CENELEC, said: "A truly comprehensive pan-European database of accidents and injuries would provide valuable information for those who are developing and revising European standards in relation to all kinds of products. It would enable our experts to identify and assess specific risks associated with particular types of products, and then look for ways to eliminate or minimise these risks. The result should be better standards leading to safer products, which also means fewer accidents and injuries."
26 February 2013 - Imnedija Ufficjalment il-Kampanja Pubblicitarja ta' l-Awtorita' ta' Malta ghall-Kompetizzjoni u ghall-Affarijiet tal-Konsumatur
30 January 2013 - EU Public Consultation - Review of the internal market legislation for industrial products
The EU Diretorate-General Enterprise and Industry has just launched a public consultation on the internal market for products.
This public consultation explores issues related to the identification and elimination of remaining barriers to the internal market for industrial products, in particular for products not subject to Union harmonisation rules. It also aims at identifying specific problems associated with the bulk of harmonisation legislation for industrial products and its application as well as the potential for simplification. These issues relate for instance to CE marking and conformity assessment.
The link to the web page of this consultation:
30 January 2013 - Unit Pricing
The Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA) is currently carrying out an information campaign about unit pricing as established by the Government Notices No. 46 and 47, published in the Government Gazette dated 15th January 2013. These notices stipulate that retail outlets with an area of less than 200 square metres and goods with a content of less than 50 grams or 50 millilitres are being exempted from displaying the unit price and only have to indicate the products' final selling price. MCCAA officers are currently visiting retail outlets to inform them about these notices that will come into force on 1st March 2013. For further information one may contact the Authority on tel. no. 2395 2000 or send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
30 ta' Jannar 2013 - Prezz ta' l-Unita'
Bhalissa l-Awtorità ta' Malta ghall-Kompetizzjoni u ghall-Affarijiet tal-Konsumatur (MCCAA) ghaddejja b’kampanja ta’ informazzjoni dwar il-prezz tal-unita’ ta’ kejl kif stabbilit permezz tal-Avvizi tal-Gvern Nri. 46 u 47 li dehru fil-Gazzetta tal-Gvern tal-15 ta’ Jannar 2013. Permezz ta’ dawn l-Avvizi il-hwienet bl-imnut b’daqs ta’ inqas minn200 metru kwadru u oggetti b’kontenut ta’ inqas minn 50 gramma jew 50 millilitru qeghdin jigu ezentati milli juru l-prezz tal-unità u juru biss il-prezz tal-oggett. L-Ufficjali ta’ din l-Awtorità qeghdin iduru l-hwienet bl-imnut biex jinfurmaw lis-sidien dwar dawn l-Avvizi li sejrin jidhlu fis-sehh mill- 1 ta’ Marzu. Ghal iktar informazzjoni wiehed jista’ jcempel lill-Awtorita’ fuq in-numru 23952000 jew permezz ta’ email email@example.com
29 January 2013 - The Pharmacy of Your Choice (POYC) certified by MCCAA against MSA EN ISO 9001
The Pharmacy of Your Choice (POYC) is the latest organization to be certified by MCCAA against MSA EN ISO 9001. The presentations of the certificate was made by Hon. Dr. Jason Azzopardi on behalf of the Authority in the presence of Hon. Dr. Joseph Cassar, Minister for Health, the Elderly and Community Care, and MCCAA Chairman, Ing. Francis E. Farrugia.
24 January 2013 - MCA rolls out comparison website for telecom tariffs
Which internet plan should I subscribe to for my home? Should I opt for a communications services bundle? Which smartphone is best for me? Do I need a tablet with internet access after all? What are the best rates at which to make calls when overseas?
These are some of the questions most of us ask when deciding which communication services we need or afford. But the wide choice is often confusing.
A recent initiative by the Malta Communications Authority aims to make it far simpler for us to find what’s available on the market and help us make our choices in terms of services and pricing, through a free tool at www.telecosts.com.
“The number of different tariff plans and bundled offers has grown significantly over the past years as a direct result of increased competition. Consumers may struggle to identify the tariff plan or offer that would benefit them the most, particularly in view of the multi-player environment that has evolved,” an MCA representative explained.
“From our experience, we have seen that many consumers have remained on the same tariff since subscribing to their service. Such consumers may potentially be missing out on more advantageous offers. We also feel that it is a tool that will contribute to enhanced competition by driving service providers to strive to have their tariff plans and offers topping the lists.”
The website provides comparison on fixed-line, mobile, broadband and bundled tariff plans by different Maltese service providers in one place. The system will initially invite you to provide some basic information on how you use the service, such as, in the case of mobile telephony approximate duration of your calls, approximate number of monthly text messages sent, the time of the day you mostly use your phone, and so on.
Based on these choices, the system will provide information on the tariff plans that provide the nearest match to you parameters.
The information provided on this website is updated regularly as it is managed directly by the service provider themselves. It is therefore in the service providers’ interest to ensure that the information is updated with the most recent tariff plans and offers. (The Times, 24th January 2013)