Prior to the enactment of the Consumer Protection Act, consumer rights in the Maldives had not been addressed to, except in a very limited manner thorough the regulation governing the sale of imported goods.
With the rapid development of Maldives, and as the consumer market became more educated and progressed, and the trading of goods expanded, the need for regulating the consumer rights became more prominent.
To address this need, a Consumer Protection Unit was established under the then named Ministry of trade and Industries, and the work on a Consumer Protection Law commenced.
Maldives enacted the Law no. 1/96, Consumer Protection Act in the year 1996. Related regulation, the Consumer Protection Regulation was published in 2010??
The Consumer Protection Act enables the consumers to protect their basic rights in buying goods and services. It includes the right for basic product information such as price, product labeling and terms and conditions in the sale of goods and services. The Act also encompasses protection for consumers’ rights relating to misleading product or service advertising, non-discrimination in the sale of goods and services, product safety and, reprisals for damaged and defect goods.
The Consumer Protection Act is applicable to all sectors and areas where a consumer transaction takes place.
How to Lodge a Consumer Complaint
To the Councils
Under the Decentralization Act, City / Island Councils are responsible to monitor that businesses adhere to the Laws and Regulations. As such, the first avenue of a consumer complaint should be the City / Island Councils.
The best approach for a consumer would be, to lodge the complaint with the City / Island Council in writing, ensuring that all evidence (if any) is submitted with it, along with the consumer’s contact details so as to enable the Council to provide an update on the issue. The Council will then carryout an inspection if necessary, and take the appropriate action if required.
To the Ministry
A consumer complaint can be submitted to the Ministry as well. The Ministry accepts consumer complaints via telephone, email, fax and in writing. The Ministry encourages that the complainant provide their contact details so that the Ministry can provide any updates on the complaint made.
To lodge a complaint, please contact the Consumer Protection Unit of the Ministry of Economic Development.