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Consumers - News archives


EU investigates consumer credit websites - a market underperforming for consumers
Were you ever about to sign a contract for a personal loan, credit card, or other consumer credit and discovered that it was all working out more expensive than you had first expected?

Press release
Q&As
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Consumers to get faster, easier and cheaper solutions to disputes with EU traders
29 November 2011 – The European Commission unveiled a package of legislative proposals to ensure that EU consumers can solve all their disputes with traders without going to court. Consumers shopping online from other EU countries will be able to solve their disputes directly online within 30 days.

Press release
Q&As
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Consumers: EU move to reduce cigarette ignited fires to save hundreds of lives each year
Cigarettes left unattended are one of the leading causes of fatal fires in Europe. Evidence shows that the number of fatalities can be reduced by over 40% with the introduction of 'Reduced Ignition Propensity' (RIP) cigarettes i.e. cigarettes which self-extinguish when left unattended and are thus less likely to cause fire.
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Proposal for the new Consumer programme 2014-2020
Commissioner Dalli today presented the proposal for the new Consumer Programme 2014 - 2020 which will support EU consumer policy in the years to come. The aim is to place consumers at the centre of the Single Market and empower them to participate actively in the market and make it work for them. The proposal will be discussed by the Council and European Parliament from December 2011. The new Regulation should enter into force in 2014.
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Cross-border online shopping: how safe and easy is it?
4 October 2011 - Have you been tempted by a cheaper online offer from another EU country but wondering how reliable it is to shop from abroad? "Mystery shoppers" from 17 European Consumer Centres have checked just that. Their report (State of the e-Union) shows the results of actual purchases in 28 countries.

Press Release
Full report
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Buying tickets online doesn’t have to end in tears!
It is now safer for consumers to buy tickets to sports and cultural events online following an EU-wide crackdown on problematic websites.

Press Release
Questions and Answers
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Flight cancelled? Lost luggage? Help is at hand.

The European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) offer citizens free advice about their rights when travelling and shopping across borders. They can also help them solve problems with traders in another EU country (plus Iceland and Norway) when things go wrong. Since many of the complaints they receive concern transport, in particular air travel, the Network has organised a special 'Air Passenger Rights Day' at 27 airports (23 countries) across the EU.
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Safer shopping: European Consumer Centres help 71,000 EU shoppers in 2010

In 2010, the network of European Consumer Centres provided help and advice to cross-border EU shoppers in over 71,000 cases, up by 15% compared to 2009.

ECC-Net 2010 annual report
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Consumers: A genuine internal market of safe products – Safety at source a key objective.
Whether a baby-stroller or a new pair of shoes, we all like to be sure that the products we buy in the EU are safe. Happily, fewer dangerous products are reaching the EU market since such products are now identified and removed more readily. See the latest report from the EU's rapid alert system for (non-food) dangerous products (RAPEX). If you are also curious about how safe your sports helmet is - see also the results of the recent investigation.
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The 3rd European Consumer Summit "EU consumer policy: the way ahead" will take place on 11-12 April 2011. Stakeholders' discussions will inform the new Strategy after 2013. On the occasion, Commissioner Dalli will announce the results of the Eurobarometer Consumer Empowerment Survey. Summit themes:
  • Evidence base;
  • Participative enforcement;
  • Capacity-building of consumer organisations;
  • Consumer information and education.
Press release: "Consumers' awareness and skills worryingly low, survey finds"
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On 30 March 2011 the Commission adopted a modification of the structure of its Directorate General for Health & Consumers.
The new organigramme will come into effect on 16 May 2011.
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Cheaper, faster, easier ways to settle disputes without going to court

The Commission continues its work on alternative dispute resolution schemes for consumers aiming at easier, faster and cheaper out-of-court resolution of disputes between a consumer and a trader. On 16 March, Commissioner Dalli attends a summit on "Alternative dispute resolution for consumers in the internal market" hosted by the European Parliament's Committee for Internal Market and Consumers with participants from across the EU.

Follow the meeting here at 15.00
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Consumer Scoreboard: recovery in consumer conditions, cross-border shopping trusted more once tried

11 March: This spring's Consumer Scoreboard is out. It shows a clear recovery in consumer conditions and suggests that EU consumers become much more confident shopping from other EU countries once they have tried it.

Press release
Full Scoreboard report
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Commission launches product safety pilot with authorities across continents

On 24 February, the European Commission, together with product safety authorities from Australia, Canada and the United States, launched a pilot project to improve the safety of selected products for children
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Commission launches public consultation on collective redress

On 4 February, the European Commission launched a public consultation “Towards a more coherent European approach to collective redress”. Contributions can be sent until 30 April.

Press release
Consultation paper and background
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Cheaper, faster, easier ways to settle disputes without going to court

On 18 January, the European Commission launched a public web-based consultation on alternative dispute resolution schemes (ADR) for consumers. The aim is to increase consumer confidence in shopping in the Single Market by ensuring easier, faster and cheaper out-of-court resolution of disputes between a consumer and a trader.

Online consultation
Press release
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Immediate remedial action taken to correct omission of Christian holidays in Europa Diary 2010/2011

Immediate remedial action is being taken to rectify the omission of certain Christian religious holidays from the Europa Diary 2010/2011. This was a regrettable error which will be addressed by a Corrigendum sent to all teachers who ordered this edition of the Diary in all EU Member States concerned. There was never an intention to discriminate against the Christian religion in this publication.
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Child safety in the spotlight at International Product Safety Week

On 2 December, the Commission and its international partners are holding an awareness event on child safety. It will focus on a case study of cords and chains in window coverings - a critical safety hazard that has led to many child deaths globally.
This is part of International Product Safety Week (1-3 December) whose theme is "Keeping Consumers Safe across Borders".

Programme of the child safety event
International Product Safety Week
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Safe toys for the holiday season: tips published by the European Commission

With many EU consumers now starting to shop for holiday presents, the European Commission has published practical guidance to help EU consumers buy only safe toys for their children and use them safely.

View the toy safety tips: EN DE FR pdf
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Simpler and standardised product information could greatly improve EU consumers’ investment decisions, behavioural study finds

EU consumers struggle to make optimal investment choices even for very simple investment tasks, says a Commission behavioural study on Consumer Decision-making in Retail Investment Services of 22 November 2010. Only 1.4% of subjects made all 5 investment choices optimally in one specific experiment.

Full study
Executive Summarypdf
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Commission eyes behaviour research to 'road-test' consumer policy

On 22 November, the high-level conference "Behavioural Economics: So What? Should Policy Makers Care" will look at how consumers actually make their choices and how this can be used in testing and optimising consumer policy

Conference site
Press programmepdf
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EU consumers could save €13 billion in electricity bills, study finds

A European Commission study on the EU retail electricity markets published on 15 November 2010 shows that EU consumers could save about €13 billion in total if they switched to the cheapest electricity tariff they could find.
Press release
Full study
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More transparent and comparable bank fees for EU consumers

On 8 November 2010, the Commission met the banking industry and consumer advocates to launch a self-regulatory initiative for banks to ensure that bank fees are more transparent and comparable for consumers.
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Investments, real estate and internet access among lowest ranking consumer markets

The autumn Consumer Markets Scoreboard published on 22 October shows that three markets are most likely to be failing consumers across the EU: investments, pensions and securities; real estate services and internet service provision

Press release BG CS DA DE ET EL EN ES IT LV LT HU MT NL PL PT RO SK SL FI
Fact sheet
Watch press briefing
Find out more
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Citizens' Energy Forum working for better energy markets for consumers

On 21-22 October, the Third Citizens' Energy Forum met in London to work on energy issues of key interest for consumers, such as billing, supplier switching, protecting vulnerable consumers and complaint handling.

Find out more
Commissioner Dalli's video message to the Forum
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Help us promote European Consumer Centres and win a summit trip

If you have ever used the services of a European Consumer Centre (ECC), take a few minutes to fill in a short survey and get a chance to win a trip to the European Consumer Summit in March 2011. The survey is part of our research which will help the European Commission to get better at informing EU consumers about the services which European Consumer Centres (ECC-Net) can provide for them. ECC-Net is an EU-wide network (also present in Iceland and Norway), supported by the European Commission, providing free advice and assistance to consumers shopping for services or goods in another EU country (as well as in Norway and Iceland).

Fill in the survey (available in 22 languages)
Find out more on ECC-Net
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European Consumer Centres - 5 years at the service of European consumers

Have you ever ordered online, paid for the goods and never received them? Then the European Consumer Centre can be of help to you. Between 2005 and 2009, the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) handled almost 270.000 contacts with EU consumers who turned to them for advice or help on cross-border shopping, according to the ECC-Net 5th anniversary report published by the European Commission today. The number of annual contacts has been rising steadily, from about 43.000 in 2005 to over 60.000 in 2009. The annual value of amicable settlements of complaints with traders (in reimbursements and compensation for consumers) reached € 3.5 million in 2008. The European Commission and Member States co-finance the ECC-Net which offers consumers free legal advice and assistance in every EU country as well as Norway and Iceland. Online purchases continue to be the main source of complaints for cross-border consumers: in 2009 they represented more than half (55.9%) of all complaints received.

Press release (PDF version pdf)
Find out more on ECC-Net
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With 84% of electronic websites now clean, enforcers next target sports and events ticketing websites

84% of websites selling electronic goods checked for breach of EU consumer rules now comply with EU laws (compared with only 44% in 2009). Commissioner John Dalli also announced the initial findings of the 2010 Sweep targeting online sales of tickets for cultural and sporting events.

Speech pdf
Press release: Consumers: Most internet sites now safe to buy electronic goods
FAQ: 2010 Sweep on tickets for cultural and sporting events (first phase)
FAQ: 2009 Sweep on electronic goods (second phase)
Tips for consumers
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Consumer & Product Safety Day, Shanghai Expo - 26 October 2010

Expo 2010 is taking place in Shanghai, China from 1 May to 31 October. The theme of the event is "Better city, better life". On 26 October, the European Commission's 'Health and Consumers' Directorate-General will host a one-day conference entitled "How best to ensure safe purchases for consumers - The EU experience", focusing on modern consumer policy and guarantees of product safety in Europe.
Draft programme pdf
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Commission looks at the issue of the reprocessing of single-use medical devices

On 27 August 2010, the Commission adopted a report on the reprocessing of medical devices in the European Union. It looks in particular at the practice of reprocessing of medical devices which are intended for single use, such as needles, syringes or catheters. The practice is not currently regulated at EU level. Earlier, the Commission had asked for an independent scientific opinion on the issue. On this basis the report concludes that the reprocessing practice may not be without risks. The Commission will assess how the current EU law on medical devices can be reviewed to ensure a high level of protection for the patients.
Read the full reportpdf
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Alternatives to animal testing for cosmetics: public consultation launched

On 23 July 2010, the Commission launched a public consultation on a draft report concerning alternative methods in cosmetic testing. Comments are sought on alternatives available in testing for certain health-related effects covered by the 2013 deadline for the marketing ban on animal-tested cosmetics. The public consultation ends on 15 October 2010. This is a part of the process to phase out animal testing of cosmetic ingredients. The testing ban on finished cosmetic products applies since 2004 and on ingredients since 2009. The marketing ban applies since March 2009 with the exception of testing for three kinds of human health-related effects, for which the deadline is March 2013. By the end of 2010, the Commission will report on the availability of and prospects for the alternatives to testing for these three types of effects.
View consultation documents
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Help us evaluate our e-shopping clip

Have you seen the clip on online shopping made by DG Health and Consumers? Would you like to help us check how good it is? We value your opinion. If you wish to take part, please click though to our survey (available in English, French, German, Dutch, Swedish and Danish). The survey takes less than ten minutes to fill in and will help us improve the way in which we communicate our consumer policy.

Haven’t seen the clip yet? Have a look

Fill in the survey: EN FR DE NL SV DA
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Holiday season: European Consumer Centres working to help and advise consumers

Consumers who have a dispute with a trader based in another EU or EEA country can turn to a European Consumer Centre (ECC) in their country for help and advice. This includes problems with airline travel, package holidays or car rental. The network of ECCs, supported by the European Commission, operates in every EU country as well as Norway and Iceland and handles over 60,000 cases annually. ECCs offers free legal advice to consumers who have not been able to resolve their complaint with the trader. They can also help solve the case by contacting the trader and their counterparts in another EU/EEA country. Under EU law, consumers enjoy a clear set of rights as air passengers (in case of problems such as cancellations, overbooking or lost luggage). When purchasing a package holiday from any EU-based tour operator or travel agency (e.g. a combination of a flight and a hotel at an inclusive price), EU consumers have a range of additional rights.
Find an ECC near you
Holiday season: tips for consumers

EU air passenger rights
Package holidays: what rights for EU consumers?
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In vitro diagnostic medical devices - public consultation on revision of Directive

The European Commission has launched today a public consultation on the revision of Directive 98/79/EC on in vitro diagnostic (IVD) medical devices and invites stakeholders to provide feedback with regard to the proposed options.
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International, multilateral call for immediate action for safety of window blind cords

For the first time three regulators looking after the safety of consumers across the Atlantic (in the EU, Canada and the United States) have joined together to demand strong worldwide safety standards on a specific product. The European Commission’s Health and Consumers Directorate General, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and Health Canada, have issued a call for better standards on window blind cords. The aim is to reduce the risk of death and injury that corded window coverings present to children.
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International Product Safety Week 2010, 1-3 December 2010

The European Commission is organising events under the umbrella of the 3rd International Product Safety Week in Brussels, from 1 to 3 December 2010. As in the past years, this week comprises a series of conferences and meetings bringing together a broad range of (non-food) consumer product safety professionals from around the world, representing regulators, businesses, consumer organisations, standard makers and test laboratories, academics, etc.
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Just published! Consumer Behaviour - the road to effective policy making

Have you ever told yourself that you should make an effort to be more physically active? Have you ever been determined to eat healthier or drink fewer fizzy drinks? Have you vowed to buy only organic or fair trade products? Did you ever promise to yourself that next time you'll throw your empty soft-drink can into the recycling bin? And do you think about recycling while on holidays or only during your daily routine?
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Consultation on the General Product Safety Legislative Initiative

The framework set up under the two successive General Product Safety Directives - Directive 92/59/EC and 2001/95/EC - has built up, in almost two decades, a system that fosters a general culture that all consumer products must be safe, and integrates the role of European standards for otherwise non-harmonised products. However, recurrent product safety alerts, either of global or regional relevance, have made it clear that we need a system that delivers more rapidly, efficiently and consistently throughout the EU and which, at the same time, is flexible enough to adapt to the challenges of globalisation and continue to contribute to the EU internal market of safe products.
To meet these challenges DG Health & Consumers has launched a public consultation on the revision of the current General Product Safety Directive 2001/95/EC.
Please note that the closing date for the consultation was postponed from 30 July to 20 August 2010
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EU-wide complaints reporting to speed up policy response to failing markets

On 12 May, the European Commission adopted a recommendation introducing an EU-wide method for classifying and reporting consumer complaints to be used by complaint bodies on a voluntary basis. The method is expected to deliver comparable complaints data that will provide crucial evidence as to which parts of the Internal Market are underperforming for EU consumers. This, in turn, will allow for a quicker and better targeted policy response at both national and EU level. Consumer complaints are a key indicator of market health. There are more than 700 organisations handling consumer complaints in Europe. But they use different classifications. As a result, comparison and overview are not possible, even at the national level. To facilitate the adoption of the method, the Commission will provide technical assistance such as free software.

Press release (PDF version pdf)
Recommendation BG CS DA DE EL ET EN ES FI FR IT LV LT HU MT NL PL PT RO SK SL SV pdf
Staff working document DE FR pdf
High level conference
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Directorate-General for Health and Consumers' Statement on the Icelandic Volcanic cloud

Icelandic volcanic cloud: to know more about your rights as travellers click here or about health risk assessment, click here.

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Annual RAPEX Report 2009 shows efficiency of EU's co-operation on dangerous products

The number of dangerous consumer products notified through the EU's rapid alert system for non-food dangerous products ("RAPEX") rose by 7% in 2009 compared to 2008, the Commission's annual RAPEX report reveals today. In addition, the results of an EU market surveillance exercise, involving 13 Member States checking the safety of toys, were also presented today, and show that around 20% did not comply with the relevant safety requirements.

Press release
Questions & Answers on RAPEX
Questions & Answers on Toy project
Full Rapex report DE FR pdf
Final Report Toy Joint Actionpdf
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Conference on Consumer Complaints - How can we use consumer complaints to improve consumers' lives?

At this high-level conference, the Commission will present the harmonised methodology for classifying and reporting consumer complaints and bring together complaints experts and policymakers to exchange views on how best to facilitate the implementation of the methodology and improve understanding on analysing and using complaints data.
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Consumer Markets Scoreboard exposes barriers to better deals and a decline in consumer conditions

The spring Consumer Markets Scoreboard published on 29 March reveals that EU consumers are still not reaping the full benefits of the internal market due to barriers to cross-border commerce. There is a growing gap between cross-border and domestic e-commerce. The national conditions for consumers – measured e.g. by consumer trust in consumer authorities and NGOs, and the effectiveness of handling disputes – have declined in most countries. But eight countries have improved their scores despite the difficult economic period. The ability of consumers to afford goods and services varies greatly from one country to another: in six countries, affordability is less than half the EU average. Life in the richer EU countries is more affordable for consumers, despite higher price levels. The Commission is working to tackle existing barriers, based on a catalogue of measures, including simplifying rules for retailers.

Press release
Questions & Answers
Full report pdf
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Consumers: Risks from cords and drawstrings in children's clothing

When EU consumers buy clothes for their children they should not have to worry about safety risks. A recent EU market surveillance exercise, checked in particular, the safety of children's clothes with cords and drawstrings, with which there can be a risk of strangulation, especially for children up to 7 years.

Press Release(PDF version pdf)
Questions & Answers(PDF version pdf)
Report pdf
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New ICPEN website - more information for consumers and consumer experts

A new International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) website was launched on 15 March 2010 - the International Consumer Day at www.icpen.org. The new site is user friendly, and is divided into three separate sections tailored to the needs of consumers, consumer protection professionals, and participating ICPEN agencies, facilitating their cooperation within the Network. For more information, please consult the following link: http://www.icpen.org/news/welcome-to-the-new-icpen-website.html
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European Consumer Summit 2010

The European Consumer Summit 2010 will take place in Brussels on 18 and 19 March. This year's summit will focus on services for consumers and in particular on access, fairness and choice. The event will be largely interactive, with small group discussions on the following subjects: choosing the right service provider; the internet – challenges and opportunities for consumers; bank account fees; car hire; green energy; and urban transport.
Workshop discussions will first aim to identify the specific challenges in each area and then focus on finding practical solutions. The results will feed into the reflections on the future consumer policy strategy.
This year's event will feature a strong focus on the media, aiming to reach beyond the Brussels media village to include wider interests such as good-housekeeping and lifestyle magazines, with the aim of broadening the appeal and exposure of European consumer policy.

For more information, please see the European Consumer Summit website
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Workshop on the revision of the Package Travel Directive in April 2010

The European Commission will hold a full-day stakeholders' workshop on the revision of the Package Travel Directive (90/314/EEC) on 22 April 2010. The workshop will take place at the Albert Borschette Conference Centre in Brussels.
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Be smart before you tan : what you need to know about sunbeds

Consumers are not being given sufficient information on hazardous effects of UV radiation and they are not receiving sufficient guidance on how to use them safely according to the results of a market surveillance check of sunbeds and sunbed services.

Press Release (PDF version pdf)
Questions & Answers (PDF version pdf)
Report pdf
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New "RAPEX" Guidelines, 27 January 2010

The Commission published new guidelines for easier and better notification of dangerous consumer products found in the EU.
Read more

Consumer education site now covers sustainable consumption and utilities

The European Commission and its partner university network (EUCEN) have launched two new modules of DOLCETA, an online consumer education tool. The two new modules are dedicated to sustainable consumption and services of general interest (such as telecoms, energy, transport, water supply and postal services). Some examples of the issues that consumers can now study online include: a sustainable home (e.g. how to make big savings on energy bills and help tackle climate change when buying furniture or home appliances), carbon offsetting (how to compensate for the carbon emissions produced when driving a car, flying or even using a computer), or tips on what to look out for when choosing an energy supplier or a mobile phone operator.
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Commissioner Kuneva welcomes Maclaren's decision to provide safety kits to all EU consumers

Today Commissioner Kuneva met with the CEO of Maclaren US and welcomed the decision by the company to provide all EU consumers with hinge cover safety kits for their pushchairs.

Press Release (PDF version pdf)
Maclaren's decision pdf
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Safety at home this Christmas

Avoid risks at home this Christmas - Tips for consumers on Christmas lights and toys

Press Release (PDF version pdf)
Frequently asked questions (PDF version pdf)
12 Toy Tips pdf
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EU to overhaul holiday travel protection

On 26 November the European Commission launched a public consultation on the revision of current EU law on package travel, which dates back to 1990. The Commission will look into possibilities of extending the protection rules to a wider range of travel products offered on today's market. The rise of the internet and low-cost carriers have revolutionised the way in which consumers organise their holidays. 23% of EU consumers (and over 40% in countries such as Ireland or Sweden) put together their own "dynamic packages". It is often not clear if these holidaymakers are protected under current EU protection rules.

Online consultation
Consumer Detriment Study pdf
Speech(PDF version pdf)
Press Release (PDF version pdf)
Key Facts and Figures (PDF version pdf)
Frequently Asked Questions (PDF version pdf)
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70% of ringtone-scam websites cleaned following EU investigation

70% of websites investigated for mis-selling ringtones, wallpapers and other mobile phone services have been corrected or closed, following an 18 month EU consumer crackdown carried out by 27 Member States, Norway and Iceland.

Speech (PDF version pdf)
Press Release (PDF version pdf) BG CS DA DE ET EL ES IT LV LT HU MT NL PL PT RO SK SL FI SV
Frequently Asked Questions (PDF versionpdf)
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Commissioner Kuneva unveils blueprint for future consumer policy

In a speech today, Meglena Kuneva has taken stock of her tenure as European Consumer Commissioner and unveiled a vision document entitled "A Blueprint for Consumer Policy in Europe: Making Markets Work with and for People".

Speech pdf
Midday Express pdf
A Blueprint for Consumer Policy in Europe pdf
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Consumers: Commissioner Kuneva welcomes new report on airline chargespdf

It is currently difficult for consumers to see clearly the cost of the government taxes and airport charges they pay when buying their airline tickets. This is important. Consumers are entitled to claim these costs as a refund if they do not use their ticket – but they need to be able to see clearly they amount of money involved. That is not the case at the moment as was found in the recent joint project by national enforcement authorities.

Report on airline charges pdf
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60% of cross border internet shopping orders are refused, says new EU study
There are widespread problems with refusals of orders for EU consumers trying to purchase goods online in another Member state, according to a new European Commission report on cross border consumer e-commerce published today. An extensive independent mystery shopping exercise was carried out for the Commission where shoppers across the EU tried to purchase a list of 100 popular products –for example cameras, CDs, books, clothes - from a cross border provider. The Communication presents a series of measures to be taken to reduce the complex regulatory environment which is acting as a disincentive for businesses to serve consumers in other Member States.

Press Release ( PDF version pdf)
Memo ( PDF version pdf)
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EU to set new safety standards for baby sleep products
New child safety standards – for safety of articles commonly used in children's sleeping environment such as cot mattresses, cot bumpers, suspended baby beds, children's duvets and sleeping bags for babies.

Press Release pdf
Memo pdf
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Why not chat online with Commissioner Kuneva about how EU Consumer law can help you as a consumer in your daily life?

On 23 October at 15:00 CET, EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva will chat online with consumers from all over the EU. The chat will focus on how EU consumer law helps consumers in practical terms."
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Citizens' Energy Forum: consumers, industry and regulators endorse recommendations for user-friendly energy bills

The Citizens' Energy Forum meeting in London on 29-30 September, endorsed recommendations for good practice in energy billing, aiming to provide EU consumers with simple, clear and informative gas and electricity bills. EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva expects that better bills will help EU consumers to save money and use less energy. Currently less than half (45%) of consumers find it easy to compare offers from energy providers, which can be one of the key reasons why only 8% of consumer switched providers in the past two years.

View examples of good electricity bills
Press Release (PDF version pdf)
Fact sheet (PDF version pdf)
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EU acts to limit health risks from exposure to noise from personal music players

Press Release
Memo
Speech
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Commission report criticises “opaque” bank fee charges

There are widespread problems with the way banks inform and advise their customers according to a European Commission report on retail financial service published on 22 September. Specific problems include information which in many cases is difficult to understand, opaque bank fees, problems with advice and low levels of switching. The report describes the price structures of current accounts as "very opaque making it almost impossible for consumers to know how much they are paying and to compare different offers."

Press release (PDF version pdf)
Fact sheet (PDF version pdf)
Full report pdf
Study on bank fees pdf
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EU crackdown on websites selling consumer electronic goods

On 9 September, EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva announced the results of an EU-wide investigation into misleading advertising and unfair practices on websites selling consumer electronic goods. The clampdown covered 369 websites selling six of the most popular electronic goods to consumers in the EU - digital cameras, mobile phones, personal music players, DVD players, computer equipment and game consoles.

Press release
Questions and Answers
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EU promotes independent comparative product testing in six new countries

Consumers in Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovenia looking for a good value for their money are gaining access to reliable comparative information on a broad range of popular products, from washing machines to mobile phones. On 3 September, national consumer associations and members of International Consumer Research and Testing (ICRT) met with the European Commission to wrap up an EU-supported project aiming to give consumers in the six countries access to the results of independent, comparative testing of consumer products.

Press release (PDF version pdf)
Questions and Answers (PDF version pdf)
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European Consumer Centres – transport remains the number one problem sector for consumers

In 2008, the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) handled over 62.000 contacts with EU consumers who turn to them for advice or for help with problems in the course of cross -border shopping, both in person and online. In 2008, there was an increase of 22% in the number of consumers turning to them directly for help. Transport remains the number one problem sector for consumers, accounting for one third of all the complaints handled by the network.

Press Release
Full Annual Report 2008
ECC success stories: examples of resolved complaints
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EU-wide complaints-classifying system to speed up policy response to failing markets

On 7 July, the European Commission unveiled a blueprint for an EU-wide method for classifying and reporting consumer complaints, inviting public comments on the proposal. The number of consumer complaints is a key indicator of market health. Currently, about 700 complaint-handling organisations exist in Europe, and most of them use their own classifications, which makes an overview very difficult, even at a national level. The method should enable national and EU policy makers to more quickly and effectively target markets which are failing consumers.

Press Release
Communication DE FR pdf
Staff working document with the draft method pdf
Online questionnaire
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Consultation paper for discussion on the follow up to the green paper on consumer collective redress

The aim of the consultation is to present the first working analysis of the impact of the options in the light of the replies to the Green Paper on consumer collective redress and to gather further information, preferably with concrete examples and/or figures on the concrete impact of the policy options, in particular on each national redress systems.

View the consultation paper pdf
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Report on cross-border e-commerce

While e-commerce is taking off at national level, it is still relatively uncommon for consumers to use the internet to purchase goods or services in another Member State. The gap between domestic and cross-border e-commerce is widening as a result of cross-border barriers to online trade.
Commission Staff Working Document: Report on cross-border e-commerce in the EU pdf
Press release
Memo
Speech
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Second Consumer Markets Scoreboard

According to the 2nd EU Annual Consumer Markets Scoreboard three areas of services which really matter to people – energy, banking and transport (trains, buses and trams) – are causing the most problems for consumers.
Second edition of the Scoreboard pdf
Press Release
Questions and Answers
Speech
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