Consumer protection: 4 questions to the president of FNAC, Ouadie Madih

Sunday, March 14, 2021 at 13:19 Casablanca – The President of the National Federation of Consumer Associations (FNAC), Ouadie Madih, in an interview with the MAP, reads on consumer protection in Morocco and puts the ’emphasis on the prerequisites necessary to establish a real culture of defense of consumer rights. 1. How do you read about consumer protection in Morocco? The Consumerist Movement in Morocco was created in 1993, but it did not reach its peak until the 2000s, in particular with the promulgation of the Consumer Protection Law (Law 31.08) in 2011. During this period, the Consumer rights protection has evolved from a phase where the Moroccan consumer did not know his rights to the current state where the consumer can claim knowledge of his rights. We are still at the beginning of the path. We as the Federation of Consumer Associations in Morocco, which was created in 2003, control the consumer market in Morocco. We are working to ensure that the protection of consumer rights is a culture acquired by the consumer himself and by all stakeholders, namely the State, professionals, control authorities. We cannot claim protection of these rights only by informing! The concern we encounter is the incomprehension and non-involvement of professionals in the process of defending these rights. Access to information is still limited. Consumer associations are then partners in consumer action. They are there to assist and support the consumer, but also to understand the situations and find practical solutions to the various problems that may arise during an act of purchase. 2. What are the necessary prerequisites to establish a real culture of defense of the rights of the Moroccan consumer? In order to be able to establish a real culture of defense of consumer rights, it would first be necessary to have this notion of culture born from childhood. The culture of consumption must be taught and introduced into primary education. Today, we all need to be aware of the issues and understand what healthy and responsible consumption is. It is a culture that must be taught from an early age. It is the role of public authorities to promote rational consumption that takes into account the citizen’s environment, economic, ecological and social. The consumer protection law is only a law that completes the Moroccan legal arsenal which has more than 300 regulatory texts covering everything relating to fraud, offenses, units of measurement, product health safety. food, advice, price fixing, competition and also affect the various sectors namely transport, sea fishing, products and services, the agricultural sector, fisheries, the medical sector, insurance, banking products , tourist offers .. The fundamental rights of consumers, which must be implemented and respected by professionals, are as follows: – The right to information: provide the consumer with all the necessary information before concluding a contract sales; – The right to choose: guarantee the freedom to purchase according to the consumer’s needs and means; – The right to withdrawal: offer, in certain cases, the consumer a period of 7 days to change his opinion; – The right to listen and to be represented: allow the consumer, during a dispute with a supplier, to be advised, guided and to be represented by a consumer protection association; – The right to the protection of economic interests: regulation of certain commercial practices such as promotional advertising, sales with bonuses, sales, lotteries, distance sales, etc. On the other side, there are also the obligations of the consumer. We campaign in this context so that the consumer is informed, active, united and responsible ecologically and socially. These are elements that make up the obligations of consumers and which aim to raise the economic level, the level of national consumption, and the social and ecological level of the country. The consumer must be aware that it is in union with other consumers that he can have the strength and influence to promote and protect his interests and the interests of all other consumers. 3. What about law 31-08? The main objective of this law is to strengthen and protect consumers’ rights, by guaranteeing them better information, protecting them against unfair terms and certain commercial practices, and by providing for additional provisions relating to conventional guarantees. , after sales service and over-indebtedness. Likewise, and given the important role of the consumer movement in information, awareness and legal protection of consumer rights, this law grants consumer associations recognized as being of public utility the right to take legal action to represent interests. consumer groups. Law 31-08 has demonstrated its performance. However, we consider that the said law still shows some shortcomings that must be reviewed by government authorities in partnership and in consultation with the consumerist movement. It is a law that must be reviewed following a participatory approach. If the law guarantees the right of access to information, it does not however guarantee the cancellation of the commercial transaction in the event that the consumer does not have access to the information. At FNAC, we are campaigning for this right to appear in Law 31-08 in order to give more force to the commercial transaction and more guarantees of consumer protection in the event of abusive practices. 4. What actions has your federation taken to promote this consumer protection? Since its establishment in 2003, FNAC has carried out several actions, particularly on the legislative side. In this context, we recall that the Federation was involved in the implementation of Law 31-08. This reflects the commitment and involvement of the consumer movement in Morocco. The main objective of consumer rights associations is to ensure respect for consumer rights, namely their right to information, to the protection of their economic interests, to representation, to withdrawal, to choice, and to listen. Their actions revolve around: – Orientation: identify with you the most competent entity for the resolution of your dispute; – Awareness: inform you to better understand the health, nutritional, environmental and commercial issues; – Information: warn you against products and services presenting risks to your health and safety; – Consumer advice: offer you the best solutions and guide you to protect your economic interests; – Mediation: assist you in resolving your dispute by promoting an amicable resolution; – Education: inform you about your rights to enable you to be a responsible consumer; – Assistance: accompany you and support you in your decision, after having received his advice. The Federation has also worked to set up local associations very close to consumers to assist, guide and educate them. With the support of the Ministry of Industry, we have set up consumer counters which are support and guidance tools. From 2019, we started to set up professional consumer counters which are available and which work all day long to receive consumer complaints in dedicated premises. The agents in charge of the counters are at least licensees trained to listen to, guide and deal with complaints from complainants. The Federation has made available to it a whole legal arsenal accompanied by management tools, namely a digitalized complaints platform, which is a complaints application accessible from smartphones, also a call center which supports and guides consumers and also makes it easier for the consumer to have access to any professional consumer counter. These actions can only be successful through the continuous training of consumers’ counter agents. This year, we have managed to receive a fairly large number of complaints at the national level through our 16 professional counters which provide guidance, information, advice and assistance or handling of a dispute. Consumer information is of great importance within the Ticket Offices. It is part of its prevention concerns and will, in the medium term, make it possible to avoid conflicts between consumers and suppliers. In 2020, the Federation recorded nearly 2,278 complaints in all sectors of activity combined. The trade and industry sector has the highest rate with 643 complaints, followed by Energy and Water (536), Education (342) and Financial services (155). These complaints relate to several aspects, namely the provision of services, unjustified price increases, unfair terms, the quality of products and services, fraud, price display, conditions of sale. In 2021, our network of outlets will be reinforced with around ten other consumer outlets.