On 17 March 1998, the Cabinet of Ministers of Latvia decided to establish a Consumer Rights Protection Centre on the basis of already existing Trade and Service Control Centre (Order No 128 of 17 March 1998). Since 1 May 1998 The Consumer Rights Protection Centre has worked to implement consumer protection by monitoring the market of goods and the provision of services, while providing consumers with the necessary information and helping consumers to deal with the conflicts that have arisen.
A significant milestone in the activities of the Consumer Rights Protection Centre was on 1 May 2004, with Latvia's accession to the European Union affecting consumer protection, market surveillance, product safety, as well as compliance assessment policies and legislation in Latvia. Participation in the European Union has also opened up new opportunities for international cooperation, ensuring and improving the protection of consumers' rights in Latvia.
The Consumer Rights Protection Centre is the State administrative authority under the supervision of the Ministry of Economics, which implements the protection of consumer rights and interests. The main document on the basis of which the Consumer Rights Protection Centre operates is the Consumer Rights Protection Law. The Centre is governed by By-law of the Consumer Rights Protection Centre.
The main functions of the centre are:
- To supervise trade of non-food products (except the sectors where in accordance with laws and regulations the market supervision and control are within the competence of other institution)
- To handle consumer complaints on violations of consumer rights
- To organize the operation of the Commission for settlement of Consumer Disputes
- To provide legal advice for consumers in consumer rights
- To monitor the consumer rights in draft contracts and agreements between consumer and producer or seller or service provider
- To supervise correctness of weight and measure of food and non-food products, as well as supervise the correctness of cost of purchase
- To supervise measuring equipment conformity to requirements of laws and regulations, to supervise metrological control of pre-packed goods
- To supervise unfair commercial practice and advertising, except the field of medicinal products and veterinary medicinal products
- To issue a special permit (licence) for the provision of consumer credit services