The MCCAA: in­vest­ing in bet­ter ser­vices for con­sumers

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - DEBATE & ANALYSIS -

The pro­gramme aims to lever­age tech­nol­ogy to en­sure that mem­bers of the pub­lic may in­ter­act with the author­ity eas­ily, while in­ter­nal op­er­a­tions are stream­lined, en­sur­ing an over­all im­proved cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence as well as im­proved con­sumer pro­tec­tion in gen­eral.

Build­ing on the well-re­ceived re­brand­ing ex­er­cise and new en­hanced web­site launched ear­lier this year, the Author­ity will be de­ploy­ing a new on­line Com­plaints and En­quires Han­dling Sys­tem aimed at avoid­ing the need for com­plex pa­per-based pro­cesses. Con­sumers us­ing the new sys­tem will be able to sub­mit com­plaints or en­quiries from any lo­ca­tion. Si­mul­ta­ne­ously, com­plaint man­age­ment by the Author­ity’s staff will be fa­cil­i­tated en­sur­ing a faster re­sponse and im­proved out­put. The sys­tem also aims to im­prove in­for­ma­tion ex­change with con­sumers on the sta­tus of their com­plaint. The sys­tem pro­vides a data anal­y­sis fa­cil­ity en­abling the Author­ity to mon­i­tor trends thereby di­rectly con- trib­ut­ing to the on­go­ing im­prove­ment of its mar­ket sur­veil­lance and con­sumer pro­tec­tion func­tions by tak­ing into ac­count is­sues raised by con­sumers and the pub­lic.

The Author­ity is com­mit­ted to lever­ag­ing tech­nol­ogy which gen­er­ates a tan­gi­ble and quan­tifi­able con­sumer ben­e­fit. In this re­gard, it im­ple­mented in­ter­nal per­for­mance in­di­ca­tors which es­tab­lish set time­frames for the clo­sure of com­plaints. These time­frames are em­bed­ded in the new sys­tem which is de­signed to es­ca­late cases as nec­es­sary.

In tan­dem with the on­line com­plaints sys­tem, the Author­ity has also an­other on­line tool al­low­ing con­sumers to, anony­mously – if they so wish –, flag any is­sue of con­cern no­ticed on the con­sumer mar­ket with­out the need to sub­mit a for­mal com­plaint. Di­rectly ac­ces­si­ble from the Author­ity’s web­site this sys­tem recog­nises that con­sumers are the best source of mar­ket in­for­ma­tion. By gather­ing in­for­ma­tion di­rectly from con­sumers, the Author­ity will be aug­ment­ing its mar­ket sur- veil­lance ef­forts and strength­en­ing its con­sumer pro­tec­tion in­ter­ven­tions.

This tool can be used to re­port is­sues which fre­quently lead to con­sumer harm such as miss­ing la­bels on non-food prod­ucts, lack of in­for­ma­tion about prod­uct man­u­fac­tur­ers or miss­ing warn­ings and direc­tions of use. Sus­pi­cious prod­ucts that look un­safe or do not dis­play the re­quired CE mark can also be flagged for in­spec­tion by the MCCAA. Con­sumers may also re­port mis­lead­ing ad­verts or pro­mo­tions, as well as prod­ucts with no set price on them in shops, or whose price is dif­fer­ent from the price charged at the cash point.

Other on­line projects tar­get­ing the pub­lic and par­tic­u­lar stake­hold­ers, are sched­uled to be launched in the com­ing months. These will in­clude on­line reg­is­tra­tions and an on­line pay­ment fa­cil­ity.

The MCCAA is com­mit­ted to con­tinue work­ing with con­sumers and eco­nomic oper­a­tors to pro­vide tar­geted and ef­fec­tive ser­vices.

Con­sumers us­ing the new sys­tem will be able to sub­mit com­plaints or en­quiries from any lo­ca­tion. Si­mul­ta­ne­ously, com­plaint man­age­ment by the Author­ity’s staff will be fa­cil­i­tated en­sur­ing a faster re­sponse and im­proved out­put

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