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Consumer and competition protection

As consumers are considered to be the weaker party on the market, their interests are protected both by law and in practice. The priority policies of consumer protection include consumer education and information, as well as consumer advice.
The principle objective of competition protection is to ensure both consumer benefits and healthy business growth and development. The Ministry of Economic Development and Technology thus ensures that, on the free market, undertakings compete with each other fairly on the basis of their products and prices, without unfair advantages.

Protection of rights in practice

Since it is not enough to only ensure consumer rights at the legislative level, the ministry assists consumers in exercising their rights in practice. Inspection bodies from various fields ensure the upholding of consumer rights by supervising the operation of undertakings and entrepreneurs and resolving consumer disputes. In the event of an infringement, the inspection bodies can issue a decision in an administrative procedure with which they order the undertaking to eliminate the irregularities or prohibit it from selling, providing services or advertising. If no dispute over the existence of a material defect exists between the consumer and the undertaking, the inspection body can order the undertaking to comply with the consumer's request. Furthermore, in a minor offence procedure, the inspection body can impose a fine on the infringer for the offense committed.

An informed consumer is a strong consumer

In 2005, the European Union established the European Consumer Centres Network so that consumers would be better informed on their rights within the common internal market and would be provided with assistance free of charge if they experience problems when exercising their rights. The European Consumer Centre Slovenia is also a part of the network. The centre provides advice and assistance to consumers when making purchases in other EU Member States, in Norway or Iceland, or are travelling to these countries and encounter problems when exercising their rights.

An important part of consumer protection are consumer organisations established by the consumers themselves in order to make it easier to protect and exercise their rights.

Slovenian Competition Protection Agency

In their endeavours for growth and development, undertakings also try to hinder their competitors. The task of the Slovenian Competition Protection Agency is to prevent and eliminate the prohibited restrictive practices and ensure that the markets operate effectively. To this end, the agency monitors and analyses the situation on the market of the Republic of Slovenia and the internal market of the European Union with a view to detecting and determining in due time the practices of undertakings that might threaten effective competition. Such practices include the fixing of prices, sharing of markets, abuse of a dominant position and concentration incompatibility. If the agency identifies an infringement, it imposes sanctions on the infringer. The primary purpose of the agency, however, is non‑repressive. The agency deters undertakings from such practices and raises their awareness of competition law and competition policies.

The agency is a legal person under public law and is an autonomous and independent body. Its main powers comprise the assessment of restrictive agreements, the abuse of an undertaking's dominant position on the market and the compliance of the concentration between undertakings with the rules on competition.

The agency also supervises the conduct of the Government, state authorities, local community authorities and holders of public authority, as they should not restrict the free trade in goods and services, free entry into the market and free operation on the market with general and individual acts or other actions if they thus prevent free and fair competition.