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ECC Success stories

The Network of European Consumer Centres is there to help with questions and any problems you may have concerning your activities as a consumer in Europe. The aim is that you should feel as confident when shopping in another country as you do at home. See below examples of how your consumer centres have helped consumers across the EU.

Czech consumer – German trader – value added tax
A Czech consumer bought a new motorbike in Germany. Although he made it clear that he was going to export the bike to the Czech Republic, the price incorrectly included value added tax, which should be paid in the country where the vehicle is registered. As a result of the dealer’s mistake, the consumer had to pay value added tax twice: once in Germany, and again in the Czech Republic. The consumer had no success when trying to solve the situation with the seller and with the tax office in Germany responsible for handling cases where a taxpayer is foreign. At the instigation of the Czech ECC, the German European Consumer Centre intervened and the dealer refunded the unduly charged value added tax to the consumer.
Danish consumer – Estonian trader – cancellation of flight
A Danish consumer purchased airplane tickets from an Estonian air carrier. Due to death in her near family, the consumer had to cancel the tickets and asked to be reimbursed. The trader agreed to reimburse provided the consumer presented a death certificate. After sending this document to the air carrier, the consumer did not get the money back and turned to ECC-Net Denmark for help, which in turn contacted ECC Estonia. Following a lengthy correspondence exchange and several phone calls between ECC Estonia and the air carrier in question, the consumer received her money back.
German consumer – Austrian trader – cold calling
ECC Net stops Austrian trader pestering elderly people by telephone in Germany. An Austrian trader made automatic telephone calls to thousands of German consumers inducing them to use expensive premium telephone numbers to get information about winnings they had allegedly made. This commercial practice violates the German Act against Unfair Practices and triggered telephone invoices of hundreds of euros to those who fell into the trap. This unlawful trader mainly targeted elderly people aged 70 to 90 years. Due to their age, suffering from a mobility handicap or not being able to understand that they were phoned by a voice machine, they felt intimidated by repetitive daily telephone calls. Since court proceedings against the Austrian trader have not stopped this practice, ECC Austria persuaded the trader to stop calling approximately 1,500 individual German consumers.
Irish consumer – French Trader – car rental
An Irish consumer hired a car in France, returned it to the car hire company at the end of the rental period and the car was checked by all parties and confirmed it had no problem. Later on, an employee from another car hire company crashed into the consumer’s hired car parked in the company car park. The consumer was not in the car at the time of the crash. Some days later, the consumer discovered that he had been charged €310 for the damage. After almost a year exchanging correspondence, the issue remained unresolved and the consumer requested the assistance of ECC Ireland. Following the intervention of the ECCs in Ireland and France, the trader returned the full amount which had been charged to the consumer for the damage.
Portuguese consumer – Italian trader – disappeared luggage
A Portuguese consumer deposited four pieces of luggage in a room offered by an Italian hotel specifically for this purpose. When he returned to get the luggage back, one of his suitcases had disappeared. The consumer filed a formal complaint asking for reimbursement. After several reminders and urging letters, he still got no answer from the hotel. ECC Italy repeatedly contacted the hotel without success and launched a procedure of dispute settlement via an ADR organism in Milan. In the end the hotel reimbursed the full value of the missing suitcase.
Swedish consumer – Dutch trader – burns
A Swedish consumer suffered physical damage when filling gas in a lighter with a refill bottle manufactured by a Dutch company. While the consumer was filling this lighter, the gas hooked up and started pouring out. So she put the refill bottle in the kitchen sink. After a few seconds the bottle ignited and exploded. The consumer was burned in her face, hands and hair and the kitchen was severely damaged. The consumer requested the ECC to intervene since the trader was not willing to accept any liability. Following the intervention of the Dutch ECC, the consumer obtained a compensation of € 5000 from the trader.
Lithuanian consumer – Belgian trader – hotel services
A consumer from Lithuania booked a hotel in Belgium. Upon arrival to the hotel she was asked for a deposit of €150 as a guarantee for any additional costs, i.e. use of mini-bar, Internet services, etc. The consumer provided her credit card as a deposit. When she checked out, she realized that the hotel had withdrawn the deposit from her credit card, even though she had not used any extra services. The consumer sent a letter to the hotel asking for an explanation, did not receive a reply, called the hotel who promised to clear the situation and call her back but never did. The consumer turned to ECC Lithuania for assistance. Following the intervention of ECC Lithuania and ECC Belgium, the consumer recovered her deposit fee.
Bulgarian consumer – Spanish trader – online reservation
Five consumers booked tickets from Sofia to Barcelona from a Spanish on-line reservation site. One week later the destination Sofia-Barcelona-Sofia was not available anymore. The consumers claimed a reimbursement of the money paid, € 438.30. Seven months later, they had not been reimbursed yet. After the ECC’s assistance, they were fully reimbursed.



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Responsible Unit B1    
Last Update : 27-07-2009