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Government

Odette Vella

This article is in Maltese - to read it in English, please scroll to the English version below

Biex torganizza tieġ koppja għandha bżonn flus, ħin u ċertu kapaċita wkoll. Avolja dan normalment ikun żmien sabiħ għall-koppja, jista’ wkoll ikun żmien stressanti sakhemm l-għarajjes isibu dak li għandhom bżonn skond il-but tagħhom. Barra minn hekk jistgħu jinqalgħu diversi problemi bl-ordnijiet li l-koppja tagħmel, u jekk dawn ma jkunux jafu eżattament x’għandhom jagħmlu il-problemi jikbru.

Hemm diversi servizzi u prodotti li l-għarajjes jiġu bżonn għall-ġurnata tat-tieġ tagħhom. Bħal per eżempju, l-kiri tas-sala, l-ikel, il-mużika, fjuri, souvenirs, l-ilbiesi ta’ l-għarusa u ta’ l-għarus, kiri ta’ karozzi, servizzi ta’ fotografija u tal-video, u ħafna oħrajn. Kull wieħed minn dawn irid jintgħażel bir-reqqa mill-għarajjes. Bħala konsumaturi huwa fl-interess ta’ l-għarajjes li qabel ma jibdew jibbukkjaw u jordnaw l-affarijiet li għandhom bżonn, l-ewwel jinvestu ftit ħin iduru u jaraw x’hemm fis-suq u f’dan iż-żmien iqabblu servizz u prodott ma ieħor. Barra minn hekk ix-xiri ta’ dawn it-tip ta’ prodotti u servizzi normalment jinvolvu kuntratti bit-termini u kundizzjonijiet partikolari tagħhom.

Il-koppja għandha toqgħod attenta meta tiġi mitluba tħallas depożitu. Il-ħlas ta’ depożitu legalment ifisser li l-ftehim tax-xiri sar u li d-depożitu qed jikkonferma dan il-ftehim. L-ammont kemm għandu jitħallas depożitu m’huwiex regolat mill-Liġi għaliex huwa kwistjoni ta’ ftehim bejn min qed jixtri u min qiegħed ibiegħ. Huwa pero’ fl-interess tal-koppja li tħallas l-inqas depożitu possibbli. Dan speċjalment jekk il-prodott jew servizz qed jiġi bbukkjat ħafna żmien qabel id-data tat-tieġ. Idealment fil-kuntratt ikun hemm klawsoli li jispjegaw kif il-ħlas ser ikun imqassam u sakhemm żmien, meta jkun il-każ, il-koppja għandha l-possibilita’ li tiġbor id-depożitu lura jew parti minnu f’każ li t-tieġ jitħassar.

Fejn hu possibbli huwa fl-interess tal-koppja li parti mill-ħlas isir wara li jingħata s-servizz bħal per eżempju fil-każ ta’ l-ikel u servizzi oħra bħal fotografija u video. Il-flus jagħtuh is-saħħa lill-konsumatur. Jekk tinqala problema hemm aktar possibilta’ li din tissolva mingħajr dewmien żejjed meta n-negozjant ikun għad irid jiġbor flusu milli kieku jkun diġa tħallas.

Qabel ma jiffirmaw kuntratt ta’ xiri l-għarajjes għandhom jaqraw sew il-kundizzjonijiet miktuba speċjalment x’jiġri f’każ li t-tieġ jitħassar. F’dawn is-sitwazzjonijiet wieħed jista’ jsib kundizzjonijiet li jobbligaw lill-koppja jkomplu bix-xiri. Hemm ċertu servizzi li ma jippermettux li wieħed jerġa jibdielu, bħal per eżempju f’każ li tiġi ordnata libsa tat-tieġ magħmula apposta għall-qies ta’ l-għarusa u għalhekk isir jew ma jsirx it-tieġ il-libsa tkun trid titħallas xorta waħda.

Il-koppja m’għandhiex biss taqra bir-reqqa dak kollu li jkun hemm miktub fil-kuntratt tax-xiri, iżda għandha wkoll tiċċekkja li dak kollu li ordnat u li ftehmet fuqu huwa mniżżel fil-kuntratt. Per eżempju, huwa importanti li jkollha deskrizzjoni dettaljata ta’ l-oġġett jew servizz ordnat; ikollha bil-miktub id-data meta ser jingħata s-servizz jew jasal l-oġġett; u f’każ ta’ arranġamenti partikolari bħal kif ser tkun imżejna s-sala tar-riċeviment, dan għandu jitniżżel bil-kitba biex jekk ikun hemm xi nuqqas il-koppja jkollha x’turi x’kien il-ftehim.

Jekk fil-kuntratt ikun hemm xi kundizzjonijiet li lill-koppja ma jgħoġbuhiex m’għandhiex tiddejjaq titkellem dwar dan man-negozjant biex fejn hu possibbli dawn jinbidlu. F’każ li l-kumpanija jew negozjant ma jkunux lesti jaċċettaw li jagħmlu xi bdil fil-kuntratt, il-koppja għandha taħsibha darbtejn qabel ma tiffirma u tħallas id-depożitu. F’sitwazzjoni fejn il-ftehim jinbidel importanti li l-kuntratt jiġi emendat skond il-ftehim il-ġdid.

Huwa fl-interess tal-koppja li kull kuntratt, irċevuta u dokumenti oħra marbuta max-xiri jerfagħuhom għaliex f’każ ta’ problema ser jiġu bżonnhom żgur. Il-prova tax-xiri hija neċessarja biex konsumatur ikun jista’ jieħu kumpens jekk l-oġġett jew servizz ikollu xi nuqqas jew ma jkunx skond il-ftehim. Bħala konsumaturi l-għarajjes għandhom dritt li jitolbu rimedju jekk il-prodott jew servizz jirriżulta differenti minn kif ordnat. Jekk per eżempju koppja tikri karozzi partikolari għal dakinhar tat-tieġ u eventwalment tiġi infurmata li dawn m’għadhomx disponibbli, legalment għandha dritt tħassar il-booking u terġa tiġbor lura l-flus li tkun ħallset.

Huwa fundamentali li l-koppja waqt li tkun qed tipprepara t-tieġ tagħha, tkun konxja kemm mid-drittijiet legali tagħha kif ukoll mir-responsabiltajiet. Permezz ta’ numru ta’ prekawzjonijiet jistgħu mhux biss jiġu evitati numru ta’ problemi iżda jiġi evitat ukoll l-istress u l-ansjeta’ żejda. Meta l-problemi jinqalgħu u l-koppja jkollha tiffaċċja diffikultajiet li ma jirnexxilhiex issolvi waħedha, tajjeb li tiftakar li tista’ titlob l-għajnuna tad-Diviżjoni tal-Konsumatur u tal-Kompetizzjoni sabiex permezz tal-medjazzjoni tipprova tilħaq ftehim amikevoli man-negozjant.

L-iskop ta’ dan l-artiklu huwa biss li jipprovdi informazzjoni u mhux li jagħti parir legali. F’każ ta’ ilment jew bżonn ta’ aktar informazzjoni tista’ tikkuntattja lid-Diviżjoni tal-Konsumatur u tal-Kompetizzjoni fuq il-Freephone 80074400.

Odette Vella hija Senior Information Officer, Dipartiment tal-Konsumatur u tal-Kompetizzjoni

Dipartiment tal-Konsumatur u tal-Kompetizzjoni
Triq il-Kanun, Sta Venera. SVR 1411
email: fair.trading@gov.mt
Freephone: 8007 4400
Tel:22156425/6/7

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Planning a dream wedding requires time, money and good organisation skills. However, preparing the perfect wedding can also be quite stressful, especially when problems start cropping up with the bookings. There are indeed numerous services, such as for instance the booking of the venue, the catering, music, flower arrangements, car hire, bridal wear and accessories, video and photography, that a couple has to shop around for and book, and each of these services often carries with it its own contract and conditions of sale.

As consumers of these services, couples can make sure that their money is well spent only if before committing themselves, they first identify what exactly are their needs. These needs should be clearly explained to the service provider before any booking is made or deposit paid. The next step is to compare prices, quality standards and features of competing products and services.

Once the choice is made no deposit should be paid before carefully reading and fully understanding the terms and conditions of the contract. Hence it is advisable that the couple asks for a copy of the contract to take home and read before committing itself. A contract sets out the legal obligations of not only the trader but also the consumer, and these obligations are to be honoured by both parties. If there is anything in the contract that is not agreeable to the couple, they should not be afraid to talk these things over with the trader and to try to re-negotiate them. If these conditions are not accepted then one should think twice before paying the deposit. Couples should also keep in mind that there are other companies and traders that can offer the service they need with the conditions they want. Care should also be taken not to leave blank spaces in parts of the contract that set out obligations and rights. Moreover, if at any point the contract is amended, it is important to initial any changes that have been made. Such contracts should also include the amount of deposit paid, the details of how the rest of the payment is going to be carried out.

Paying a deposit indicates an intention to purchase a particular product or service. If eventually the couple changes its mind or finds a better deal somewhere else, legally the couple will be seen as not fulfilling its part of the contract. In such a situation it will be up to the trader to decide whether or not to refund the deposit paid. Usually this is clearly explained in the contract the couple has signed upon paying the deposit. Most contracts in fact specify that the retailer is entitled to retain the deposit, or part of it, if the consumer fails to go ahead with the transaction. In case of last minute cancellations the couple may also be obliged to pay the full balance even though it does not need the service anymore.

In fact the law does not cover change of mind situations. Unless there is something wrong with the goods purchased the possibility to exchange depends on the shop’s customer care policies. Even refunds, these can only be legally claimed when goods or services purchased are not in conformity with the description and specifications in the contract of sale, or else are not fit for the purpose for which they were bought. Even when this is the case the trader has the possibility to put things right through repair or replacement. It is only when either of these remedies is not possible or convenient to the consumer that consumers may legally ask for a refund of part of the price or revocation of the contract, that is, full money refund.

Whatever is purchased and whenever a deposit is paid, it is the couple’s responsibility to keep the evidence of the purchase. This could be in the form of a fiscal receipt or any other document that proves what product or service was purchased, from where and when it was purchased. Should there be a problem with the product or service the proof of purchase is absolutely necessary to obtain redress.

In the contract of sale it is also very important to include a detailed description of the product ordered. For instance when the bride orders her dress, the contract should include the model number, the size and also a picture of the dress. Another important factor is the date of delivery. This date should be clearly specified. It is also advisable to avoid last minute deliveries, in case some problems crop up with the shipping or the wrong item is delivered.

If the delivery date is not honoured by the supplier, or the product supplied is not as agreed in the contract of sale, then consumers are free to cancel the order and claim back any deposits or money paid.

Being aware of one’s rights and responsibilities is therefore fundamental to avoid problems and complications that may only cause stress and anxiety. However, whenever this is not possible and couples find themselves facing difficulties that they cannot handle on their own, they should contact the Consumer and Competition Division for advice and eventual mediation through the Division’s intervention.

This article is intended for information purposes only. Any legal claim or action taken in the event of a dispute should be based solely on the legal texts concerned. For further information one can contact the Consumer and Competition Department on Freephone 8007 4400.

Odette Vella
Senior Information Officer
Consumer and Competition Department

 

 


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