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.
“ECCs are a key tool in the hands of consumers, instrumental in finding solutions to their cross-border purchases when something goes wrong. The results generated by the ECCs 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 ECCs dealt with 32,522 complaints. The number of complaints increased by 9% compared to 2012, around a third of which concerned the transport sector. Air transport remains the biggest culprit (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 whilst another 12% of the complaints cited defects in their purchase.
Two thirds of the complaints resulted in a positive outcome for consumers as they could deal with their problem themselves thanks to the advice provided by the ECC in their country.
The increase in the number of consumers resorting to the ECC network can be attributed to the development of the awareness of consumers on their rights, the better knowledge of ECCs, the increase in cross-border purchases and a general “crisis” effect, with consumers being more attentive to their rights.
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 consumer authorities.
For more information http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/ecc/index_en.htm