Delivering for consumers
In practical terms …
1. What can I do if I suspect that a business practice restricts competition?
In your daily life, you may come across situations in which there are signs of business practices which may restrict competition, such as those described in this site. For instance, companies have sometimes refused to accept orders from consumers from other Member States. Such a refusal may be a sign of illegal, restrictive practices and you may want to inform a competition authority about them.
Step 1: Decide which competition authority to inform
If the situation you have encountered is specific and limited to the country or the area in which you live, or involves no more than three Member States you may in the first place want to contact a national competition authority. The competition authorities of all EU Member States now apply the same competition rules as the European Commission and very often they are well placed to deal with your problem. If you think that a larger number of Member States are concerned, you may primarily choose to contact the European Commission.
Even if you are unsure about the scope of the problem, do not hesitate to contact either the European Commission or a national competition authority. The authorities cooperate and may allocate a case that could arise from your report between them as appropriate.
Step 2A: if you wish to inform the European Commission
- Reporting your concerns to the European Commission
You can report your concerns to the European Commission by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can write a letter to:
Directorate-General for Competition
Please indicate your name and address, identify the firms and products concerned and describe clearly the practice you have observed. This will help the European Commission to detect problems in the market and can be the starting point for an investigation.
- Making a formal complaint with the European Commission
If you are directly affected by the practice which you suspect restricts competition and able to provide the European Commission with specific information, you may want to lodge a formal complaint instead. In this case, you would need to fulfil certain legal requirements which are explained in detail in the Commission Notice on the handling of complaints (for further information see http://europa.eu.int/dgcomp/).
You can also send an e-mail to email@example.com to ask for further information on the lodging of a formal complaint.
- Informing a consumer association
As an individual consumer, you may also inform a consumer association of your observations. The consumer association can then decide to pool information received from different consumers and make a formal complaint to the European Commission.
Contact a consumer organization in your country
Step 2B: inform a national competition authority
National competition authorities in the EU Member States can gather information from the companies concerned and take action to remedy the problem if they find that EU competition law has been broken.
Please note that the procedures followed by the national authorities depend on their national laws and may differ from one EU Member State to another. So, before contacting a national competition authority, you may want to check its website or seek guidance from the authority on how best to report your concerns.
Contact your national competition authority
2. What can I do if I think my company may be involved in a cartel or is restricting competition in some way?
If your company decides to take advantage of the European Commission’s policy towards companies in a cartel which give inside information about its existence, it may approach the European Commission either directly or through an intermediary, such as a legal adviser.
An application for immunity or reduced fines under this policy should be sent to the dedicated fax number:
This ensures that the precise time and date of the contact is recorded and that the information is treated with the utmost confidentiality. If necessary, initial contact can also be made through the following dedicated telephone numbers:
(32-2) 29-84190 or (32-2) 29-84191.
Under the policy, the first company to submit evidence of a cartel unknown to, or unproved by, the European Commission may receive total immunity from fines. Companies submitting later applications may benefit from reduced fines.
If you are an employee or former employee of a company which you believe is restricting competition in some way, you may approach the European Commission using the following dedicated telephone numbers: (32-2) 29-84190 or (32-2) 29-84191 to pass on any information and evidence you may have of this. Your identity will not be disclosed without your consent.
Based on the information and evidence you have provided, the Commission may decide to open an investigation.
3. How can I make a merger related complaint or suggestion to the European Commission?
In case you wish to make a complaint or a suggestion relating to a merger, you may contact the European Commission by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to:
Directorate-General for Competition
4. What can I do if competition is distorted through a State aid measure?
Lodge a formal complaint
You can lodge a complaint with the European Commission if you believe that competition is distorted through a State aid measure. A special form and further guidance are available on this page
Inform the European Commission during a formal investigation
You can also make your voice heard when the Commission opens a formal investigation procedure. The Commission must always take this procedural step where it has doubts that State aid can be accepted. A letter will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union, explaining the difficulties the Commission has approving the aid and inviting interested parties to provide comments.
The published letters can also be found on theCompetition website, on a special page that contains information published on the Official Journal related to State aid
5. Where can I get more information about competition policy?
6. Who can I ask if I have a specific question about competition?
If you have a specific question about competition policy please contact our dedicated mailboxes:
7. Is there a contact point for consumers on competition issues?
The European Commissioner responsible for competition created a Consumer Liaison Unit within the Commission’s Competition DG to ensure a permanent dialogue with European consumers. If you have any question on competition please contact our Consumer Liaison officer by using this address: email@example.com
8. How can I give feedback about this website?
You are very welcome to give your feedback, in particular if you have ideas to improve the information provided on these pages. Please contact the webmasters at firstname.lastname@example.org