Consumers – Protect yourself from Online Fraud this Festive season
12% of internet users across the EU have already fallen victim to online fraud. 8% have had to deal with identity theft. A new report by the European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net) takes a look at the scams faced by consumers when shopping online. The report focuses on fraud in cross-border e-commerce and what consumers can do to protect themselves from online fraud. It has been prepared based on the complaints reported by consumers to ECC-Net in 2012.
Improving cross-border consumer protection: The European Commission wants your views
Europe's 500 million citizens should get the same benefits from their consumer rights if they shop at home, in another European Union country or on-line in Europe. On 11 October 2013 the European Commission launched a public consultation to see how best to strengthen consumer protection across borders.
The consultation is open until 31 January 2014 and is accessible on-line.
US developments in the timeshare sector
The United States' Federal Trade Commission has launched a vast crack down on unlawful practices in the area of travel and timeshare. This sector is of grave concern to US authorities with fraud complaints. According to the European Consumer Centres report 2012 timeshare related products are among the sectors consumer complain most about when making cross-border transactions (7, 4 % for timeshare and package holidays).
In the EU, buyers of timeshare are protected by the timeshare Directive 2008/122/EC. The newly implemented Directive reinforces the consumer protection regarding timeshare contracts and also covers other long-term holiday products.
More information on timeshareRead more about the US investigation
72,000 EU consumers helped by European Consumer Centres in 2012 - Annual Report
ECC-Net Annual Report 2012, launched today, reveals - European Consumer Centres across the EU handled more than 72,000 enquiries from consumers during 2012. More than half of these contacts related to 32,000 complaints about a purchase made in another EU country, Norway and Iceland. Around 60% of complaints concerned e-commerce. About one third of all complaints related to the transport sector, of which 22% were linked to the air transport. More than half of complex complaints were resolved amicably or passed on to other organisations. The annual report also gives key details on ECC-Net activities in 2012 and success stories per countries where the network operates.
Full report Infographic
Consumers buying loans online now get better information
Before consumers enter into a loan, they need to understand its real cost and take the time to reflect, especially on the monthly repayment. The Consumer Credit Directive lists the information that need to be given in advertising of credits and as part of credit offers and provides for a 14 days reflexion time, during which the consumer may back out of the agreement without charge. Following a crackdown on websites offering consumer credits, more than 3 out of 4 sites checked a year ago now comply with EU law.
Consumer tipsConsumer credit sweep website
Planning a skiing holiday?
The report "Ski Resorts" is a guide for all ski-lovers, whether they ski on a shoe-string budget, take a family holiday or change ski resorts every year. Have fun!
Over 2010 and 2011, the ECC-Net collected approximately 31.000 consumers' complaints per year, out of which 56% dealt with online issues. The report shows that faulty delivery and defective products and services are the main sources of consumers' discontent. In order to help consumers avoid these problems and many more, the report also provides a checklist of tips to avoid online traps.
EU Consumers: settling small cross-border disputes without any hassle
Hunting for cross-border bargains is a way for consumers to get the 'best deal' across the EU's internal market. Shopping online makes these bargains ever more accessible. But sometimes things can go wrong: there might be a problem with the goods or with delivery. To avoid difficult, costly and time-consuming legal procedures, the European Union is facilitating access to justice for consumers in Europe, so that they can effectively enforce their rights.
The European Small Claims Procedure is one of the solutions available to resolve cross-border disputes in cases involving amounts of €2,000 or less. However, a new report from the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net), released today, shows that this user-friendly procedure, available since 1 January 2009, is often under used. This is mainly because judges are not aware of the procedure - something the Commission intends to tackle vigorously.
Key consumer tips for visitors to the 2012 Olympic Games
The European Commission has put together a webpage with key consumer tips on how to plan a successful, stress-free trip to the Olympics – and avoid consumer hassle with travel, accommodation or shopping. This page offers essential, hands-on information and links to services that can help visitors in case of a problem.
Air Passengers Rights: new smartphone app to give you all your rights while travelling this summer
Passengers stranded at airports or awaiting missing luggage may now use a smartphone application to check their rights immediately and on the spot. Just in time for the summer holidays, the European Commission has launched an application for smartphones which covers air and rail transport and works on four mobile platforms: Apple iPhone and iPad, Google Android, RIM Blackberry and Microsoft Windows Phone 7. The app is available in 22 EU languages. It currently covers air and rail transport and will be extended to bus / coach and marine travel in 2013 when these rights come into force.
Keep Your passenger rights at hand, everywhere
ECC Network to champion Air Passengers Rights at 28 airports across Europe
As the holiday season begins, passengers leaving from European airports should be confident about their rights in case of flight delays, cancellation or lost luggage. On 4th July, at 28 airports across Europe, European Consumer Centres (ECC-Net) offer advice to European citizens about their air passenger rights.
Press releaseAirports participating
2011 ECC-Net Annual Report: more than 70 000 consumers received free help and advice
The transport sector triggered the most complaints (32% of which 20% related to air transport services). Online purchasing was the selling method which caused most problems for consumers (56.6% of complaints). In 2011, more than half of the complaints were resolved amicably or passed on to other organisations: 41% of the complaints were successfully closed after the ECCs reached an amicable settlement with the trader and 13% were passed on to other organisations. Compared to previous years, ECCs increasingly promoted ADR entities (to help solve problems out of court): 62.5% of the complains transferred to other organisations or agencies were passed on to ADR entities (compared to 50% in 2009 and 58.5% in 2010).
1 June 2012 - Commissioner Dalli and UEFA President Michel Platini launched an EU-UEFA consumer information campaign for fans travelling to the EURO 2012 Championship with useful numbers and tips on EU consumer rights. Europe Direct is ready to answer online queries on general EU consumer rights in 23 languages. The Consumer Infoline in English - operated by Federacja Konsumentów - gives legal advice to those who run into consumer problems in Poland. Posters will be displayed at popular hotels in Poland.
Costa Concordia shipwreck - agreement between national consumer associations of Italy and Costa Crociere
Following the tragic accident of Costa Concordia, an agreement has been reached by national consumer associations of Italy and Costa Crociere for the reimbursement that will be offered to all passengers.
For more information
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? ECC-Net mystery shoppers have checked just that. Their report (State of the e-Union) shows the results of actual purchases in 28 countries.
Press releaseFull report
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.
Please follow the link for more information
2010 Annual Report: 15% more consumers helped
In 2010, European Consumer Centres handled over 71 000 consumer cases, up by 15% compared with 2009. One complaint in three concerned transport – mostly air travel.
2010 annual reportECC card
Looking a hotel in another EU country and want to know what the hotel stars really mean? ECC have put together a summary so you can see what a hotel has to provide to qualify for 3-star status
Minimum criteria for 3-star hotels in Europe