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Consumer complaints are a key indicator of the Consumer Markets Scoreboard in helping to identify failing markets from a consumer perspective.
Despite the fact that there are many third-party bodies (e.g. consumer authorities, consumer organisations, regulators) collecting complaints, the data is not available in a comparable form and regular periodicity.
Therefore, in May 2010, the Commission adopted a Recommendation introducing a harmonised methodology for classifying and reporting consumer complaints.
The methodology 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 and how.
This will allow a quicker and better targeted policy response at both national and EU levels.
Staff Working Document presenting the background to this initiative and the main issues that were raised during a public consultation on this issue
The Commission is organising a high level conference on 27 May 2010, where it aims to 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.
Practical measures to facilitate implementation of the methodology
- The Commission has developed technical specifications to facilitate the transfer of data to the Commission. The technical specifications include the following documents:
XML Gate Integration Types
High Level Requirements
Technical Data Dictionary
Frequently asked questions
- Complaint bodies that will adopt the methodology and provide data to the Commission should comply with these technical specifications.
- An alternative to using the technical specifications is to use an IT software tool that has been developed by the Commission. This software tool can be provided free of charge to complaint bodies that are willing adopt the methodology and provide data to the Commission. This software tool is suitable for complaint bodies that currently do not have complaint classification software, or have relatively simple software.
Download "Consumer Complaints IT prototype"
For information and assistance related to adopting the methodology contact:
In 2009, the Commission adopted a Communication on a harmonised methodology for classifying and reporting consumer complaints and enquiries and an accompanying Staff working
document presenting a draft harmonised methodology. The draft methodology was put to a public consultation between 07.07.09 to 05.10.2009. The objective of the consultation
was to gather comments on the draft and improve the methodology in order to be taken up by the maximum number of consumer complaint bodies.
Please see the attached privacy statement and the policy for the protection of personal data.
In 2008 Commission carried out a public consultation seeking stakeholders' views on developing a harmonised methodology for classifying and reporting consumer complaints across the European Union and the EEA.
The public consultation attracted a strong response from a wide group of stakeholders with the majority being in favour of developing a harmonised methodology under a voluntary system.
Responsible service: DG Health and Consumer Affairs, Unit B1 – Consumer Markets
Contact person: Mr Akis Kyriacou
Telephone: 0032 229 95403