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New law offers greater protection for misled shoppers

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A clampdown on false advertising and misleading sale prices are just some of the provisions of new consumer protection legislation, Commerce Minister Natasa Pilides said on Wednesday

Presenting the new legislation at a press conference with director of the consumer protection service Antonis Ioannou, she said the new legislation consolidates, modernises and codifies consumer laws and boosts the authority of the protection service to crack down on misleading practices.

“It is crucial to inform consumers and businesses about their rights and obligations as defined by law,” she said, adding that the law cannot be adequately implemented without their active participation, nor can it improve competition or upgrade the levels of consumer protection.

Pilides and Ioannou presented some examples of unfair commercial tactics to demonstrate where the new law will apply. These included false advertising, deceptive advertising, hidden charges and contract and warranty violations, all subject to administrative fines from the service.

The law also authorises the service to take measures regarding online stores’ adherence to laws on consumer protection.

It also sets out that during sales, the price tag must specify the price the product was selling at immediately before while service businesses must display their price list.

The omnibus bill was the last to be voted through by parliament before it dissolved for the May 30 elections, in a session attended by Pilides, whose portfolio also includes consumer rights.

The bill aligns national legislation with the EU regulation of 2017 on cooperation between national authorities responsible for implementation of consumer protection laws.

Its most important function is that it gives the consumer protection service the authority to impose sanctions, including administrative fines, and to apply to court for injunctions after a complaint or at its own initiative in cases of violations.

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