Brussels, 19 February 2014
Empowering Consumers: A record year for the European Consumer Centres
The Network of European Consumer Centres across the EU handled more than 80,000 enquiries from citizens across the EU in 2013. This represents an increase of 11% compared to 2012.
“By helping Consumers across national borders the European Consumer Centres make a valuable contribution to the Single Market. The results of the ECCs' work are proof that the funding provided by the Commission’s Consumer Programme ultimately benefits the people who need it most, EU consumers and reputable and innovative businesses” – said Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner for Consumer Policy.
Among the 80,272 contacts from consumers, the ECCs dealt with 32,522 complaints. The number of complaints increased by 9% compared to 2012.
Advice provided by the ECC network contributed to a positive outcome for consumers in two thirds of cases.
Around a third of all complaints concerned the transport sector. The largest hare concerned air transport (18.3%); however car rental is attracting an ever increasing number of complaints. The other top complaints received by the ECCs related to household equipment, problems related to the purchase of tickets for sporting and cultural events and time-share.
Just over 15% of the problems registered concerned the non-delivery of the purchased product or service and another 12% of the complaints cited defects in their purchase.
The increase in the number of consumers resorting to the ECC network is driven by a number of factors: an increasing knowledge among consumers of their rights; greater awareness knowledge of the ECC network; the increase in cross-border purchases and a general “crisis” effect, with consumers seeking the best deal and the best service.
The ECC-Net is a European network giving European citizens consumer advice in cross-border problems, for example while travelling in another country or e-shopping. The ECC-Net covers 30 countries (all EU countries plus Norway and Iceland), consumers residing in one of these countries and shopping in another one can benefit from their services free of charge.
The ECC-Net is co-funded by the EU Consumer Programme and by national authorities.
For more information http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/ecc/index_en.htm