Moldy bread, sour salads, outdated sausages, chocolates, yogurts – it is short list of products which are sold in the shops of Georgia every day. Consumers post information about outdated and bad products on the website momxmarebeli.ge (consumer.ge). The website administration responds to all updates and issues consultations. If it is required, the website administration can provide laboratory analysis too.
The law on consumers’ rights, which was adopted in 1996, was abolished in 2012 in Georgia. In accordance to that law, consumer in Georgia could claim adequate quality of goods, work, trading and other services as well as safe products, relevant information about quantity and quality of the purchased products; under the law consumers could claim reimbursement for the damage caused by law quality and/or life and health threatening products; consumers could defend their rights before the court and corresponding state institutions; consumers could join unions and societies of consumers.
Chairwoman of the Association of Georgian Consumers Madona Koidze said National Food Agency is in charge to elaborate regulations for the quality and production of food. Besides, some sanctions are also fixed for the realization of harmful and outdated products. Business-operator is fined if it does not inform consumers about its products.
In 2015, the Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia researched the attitude of consumers in Georgia in the frame of the EU funded project. In accordance to the research results, 24,3% of the Georgian population thinks sanitary and hygiene norms are not preserved; this opinion is shared by 28,6% of Tbilisi population.
According to the violations in the food shops, at least 62,1% of consumers in Tbilisi had their rights breached. According to the research, 69% of consumers did not do anything, 6-8% of consumers fixed problems with the concrete shop personnel and 0, 2% applied to lawyer for help.
Chairwoman of the Georgian Consumers’ Association Madona Koidze said despite low percentage in the research results, consumer culture has developed in the country for the past time. She said sometimes consumers appeal to the court to defend their rights.
“Although consumers have to pay fees to appeal the court, they start process. It is noteworthy that mostly similar court disputes finish with the victory of consumers,” Madona Koidze said.
The issue of consumers’ rights became urgent in 2015 when the Legal Committee of the Parliament of Georgia discussed the draft law on the protection of consumers’ rights.
The draft law aims to regulate civil-legal relations between consumers and traders. The draft law pays particular attention to updating consumers with the information about products and obligations about guarantee terms. Also, the draft law aims to create the institute of the Consumers’ Ombudsman that will regulate relations between consumers and traders under the law. Consequently, consumers will have possibility to request defense of their rights under the law. The draft law is planned to go in force from January 1, 2016.