Legal encounter on consumer safety and rights

Birzeit University’s Institute of Law-Gaza Branch discussed in a session held jointly with Konrad Adenaur Siftung (KAS) on September 25, 2019, to what extent and through what measures Palestinian consumers are protected through legal measures, featuring Maan Alatrash, a legal advisor.

Explaining Law No. (21) of 2005 that concerns consumer’s rights and protection regulations, Alatrash said that it aims to protect and safeguard consumers’ rights and to ensure that they are not exposed to any health hazards, inequity or economic losses. The law also demands of traders and business persons that they provide quality goods and services, prevent the exploitation and manipulation of prices, and ensure that economic transactions are carried out and processed in transparent ways.

Alatrash pointed out that the ground statue of the law requires that consumer’s health and safety are protected when they consume any service or product. Consumers must be able to engage in fair and equal commercial interactions and must be given the opportunity to repair or replace goods if they fall short of the required quality standards.

Alatrash also raised awareness of the important role of specialized entities, such as the Palestinian Society for Consumer Protection, in drawing and regulating the relationship between consumers, traders and policy makers. Regarding the quality specifications of a product or service, he explained that a keen eye must be kept on details in order to obtain high quality products. This includes the assurance that they are adequately packaged, observation of the quality standards of the country of origin, the elimination of contaminated goods, and the monitoring of expiration dates. He emphasized the importance of informing the authorities, public and media if any poor-quality goods are found present in the market.

Alatrash furthermore explained how consumer protection guidelines and regulations are related to the Palestinian Public Health Law No. (20) of the year 2004, especially regarding food and pharmaceutical products. The articles of this law stipulate that inspectors verify that these products are safe and suitable for human consumption by measuring the quantities and types of chemicals contained in each product.