While goods and services offered across the EU are quite similar, differences in consumer arrangements remain significant. Dissatisfied consumers can complain directly to national authorities and third-party organisations in all EU countries, which collect and analyse these complaints.
A harmonised methodology concerning complaints is crucial for getting comparable information about consumer markets. Therefore, in 2010 European Commission issued relevant Recommendation introducing harmonised methodology for classifying and reporting consumer complaints.
To ensure national follow-up of the Recommendation, the Commission created Consumer Complaints Expert Group made up of national representatives of consumer bodies who are responsible for implementation in Member States. If you wish to contact your national representative, please send a message to: JUSTemail@example.com
IT adaptations and financial support are necessary to develop compatibility of complaint bodies' and the Commission IT systems.
The approach depends on the complaint body's profile:
Small organisations that do not have a specific data collection IT systems and handle low numbers of complaints – free use of the European Consumer Complaints Registration System (ECCRS) by complaint bodies. It is suitable for bodies without complaint classification software or with relatively simple software.
The software is available on a portal of collaborative workspace for partners of the European Union CIRCA -Interest group Consumer Complaints Expert Group.
Sign up to CIRCA - Consumer Complaints Expert Group
CIRCA member - Consumer Complaints Expert Group member
Organisations with data collection IT systems and those that gather large numbers of complaints - adapting their local IT systems to the new methodology.
The Commission is developing technical specifications to make easier adaptation of the systems and the data transfer to the Commission.
Complaint bodies willing to adopt the methodology and adapt their IT systems may receive Commission financial support in the form of grants.
Grants co-finance the setting up of IT systems to implement the Recommendation. They cover staff costs needed to analyse and adapt the complaint body's IT system to the requirements and the Commission technical specifications.
The end result is IT systems that allow the transmission of harmonised data on consumer complaints to the Commission.
In 2011 the Commission made available €205.000 for the purpose.