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Consumers (28-08-2008)


The Commission launched at the beginning of this year a web-based public consultation on 10 benchmarks that should be respected by effective and efficient collective redress systems in order to ensure satisfactory redress for consumers. The benchmarks covered mainly topics related to the financing of collective redress actions, a possible deterrent effect of such actions, the determination of the compensation to be paid to the consumer and the safeguarding of the defendant's rights. Read the benchmarks:
The Commission received 70 contributions from consumer organisations, industry, legal practitioners and academics.
Consumer organisations support the benchmarks as being helpful in identifying well-functioning systems in the Member States and to develop an EU scheme for collective redress. They stress that securing a reliable financing mechanism is crucial for the success of a collective redress mechanism.
Industry representatives agree to the Commission's efforts to further investigate the efficiency of existing different consumer redress mechanisms across the EU before contemplating the introduction of any measures at EU level in this area. However, as this process is not yet finished, they consider the benchmarks discussion to be premature. They criticise the benchmarks for not taking sufficiently into account the industry's needs. In their view, it is essential to prevent unmeritorious claims by e.g. maintaining the loser-pays-principle. They also believe that instead of concentrating on court procedures, the Commission should promote Alternative Dispute Resolution systems.  
Legal practitioners and academics in general support the Commission initiative. They show a preference for opt-in procedures being the only way to appropriately respect the freedom of every consumer to decide whether to pursue an action.
Read the detailed feedback statement: