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Health and Consumer Protection

Library - Press releases

A euro label in shops

Brussels, 30 June 1998

The European-level representatives of consumers and of professionals in the trade, tourism and craft trades sectors have taken an important step towards ensuring that consumers can have confidence during the changeover to the euro. Under the auspices of the European Commission, they have signed an agreement covering voluntary rules of conduct during this transition period. Any professional who so wishes may undertake to comply with six rules of conduct in his dealings with his customers concerning the use of the euro. He will then be entitled to display a logo that gives a necessary sense of security to consumers. Commissioners Emma Bonino responsible for Consumer policy, Christos Papoutsis, responsible for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and Yves-Thibault de Silguy, responsible for economic, monetary and financial affairs, underlined the importance of this agreement, pointing out that it was in the interests of both consumers and professionals to establish a climate of confidence during the changeover to the euro and that the agreement was a further step in the process of the introduction of the euro.

The agreement that was signed on Tuesday, 30 June in Brussels between the representatives of consumers and the representatives of the main professional associations of the distributive trades, tourism, craft trades and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is the first of its kind at European level. The signatories represent almost the whole of these sectors (see list in the Annex), although it will be up to each professional to decide whether or not to abide by the rules of conduct. The agreement reflects a new approach of cooperation between the various economic players involved in the changeover to the euro.

Every professional who abides by the agreement will be able to display a logo in his window, catalogue or advertising and will undertake to comply with six commitments (see Annex). Consumers who see this label will thus know that in the shop in question:

  • The dual display of prices and payments is always carried out in accordance with the conversion and rounding rules;
  • A considerable amount of information is available on the arrangements for the introduction of the euro, either in the form of documents or from the staff;
  • There is dual pricing of many products and services, and in particular of all products on special offer;
  • Wherever possible, consumers may pay in euros - at no extra charge, of course.

All the arrangements concerning the label will be managed at decentralised level by a neutral body such as the "local observatories on the changeover to the euro", where they exist. Chambers of commerce and professional associations may also be involved in the distribution of the label. Compliance with the commitments entered into by professionals will be monitored by the observatories, by the associations representing professionals and consumers and by the relevant national authorities.

Fraudulent use of the label may be punished in accordance with the Directive on misleading advertising.

Background

This agreement is the fruit of a consultation process initiated by the Round Table on the euro held on 15 May 1997. Following this Round Table, several working parties were set up, including the Working Party on the acceptance of prices and scales of value in euros. The conclusions of this Working Party’s report were taken up:

  • First, in the Communication from the Commission of 11 February 1998 entitled "Update on the practical aspects of the introduction of the euro" and in the Commission’s Recommendation of 23 April 1998 on dialogue, monitoring and information to facilitate the transition to the euro, which recommended the continuation of the dialogue between professionals and consumers;
  • Second, by the initiation of these negotiations between representatives of consumers and of professionals in the trade, tourism and craft trades sectors in order to help people to become familiar with the euro during the transitional period. The agreement signed today is the fruit of these negotiations.

Negotiations are also planned in the near future between consumers and representatives of certain banking sectors, with a view to establishing the same kind of voluntary rules of conduct.

 

ANNEX 1

LISTE DES SIGNATAIRES DE L’ACCORD

Isabel Mendes Cabeçadas,Pierre Dejemeppe, Dirk Klasen, Paolo Landi, Reine-Claude Mader, Max Reuter
Pour le Comité Consommateur auprès de l'Union européenne

Jean-Pierre Lhoest
Pour l'Union européenne des Aveugles :

Igino Sogaro
Président d'EuroCommerce

Rolando Foresi
Vice-Président d'EuroCommerce
Membre du Comité du Commerce et de la Distribution

Henrik Kröner
Secrétaire Général d'EuroCommerce

Xavier Durieu
Président du Comité euro d'EuroCommerce

Jouko Kuisma
Membre du Comité euro d'EuroCommerce
Membre du groupe de travail euro du Comité du Commerce et de la Distribution

Hans-Werner Müller
Secrétaire Général de l’UEAPME
(Union européenne de l’artisanat et des PME)

Sidney Perez
Président de ECTAA
(Agences de voyage et tour opérateurs en Europe)

Michel de Blust
Secrétaire Général de ECTAA
au nom de NET – Réseau des Associations de l’Industrie Privée du Tourisme (ECTAA, EFCO, ETOA, HOTREC, IRU)

Thomas Jenkins
Directeur Executif de ETOA
(Tour operateurs receptifs)

Marguerite Sequaris
Secrétaire Général de HOTREC
(Hôtels, Restaurants et CAfes en Europe)

Jan Timmerman
Secrétaire Général d’EUROPIA
(Association de l’Industrie Petroliére européenne )

 

ANNEX 2

COMMITMENTS GIVEN BY PROFESSIONALS

Commitment No 1:

To use the conversion rate and the rules for rounding in all the following cases:

  • Dual labelling/pricing;
  • Payment;
  • Instruments to help with conversion (pocket calculators, converters, conversion tables…).

Commitment No 2:

Not to charge additional costs to consumers who opt to pay in Euros.

Commitment No 3:

To give minimum, visible, appropriate and permanent information on the following elements, in the form most appropriate to each type of trade and to its scale:

  • Opportunities for using the Euro in accordance with the changeover timetable (for non-cash transactions until 2001, notes and coins from 2002);
  • The fact that neither the customer nor the trader shall be obliged to use the Euro during the transition phase;
  • Euro notes and coins, at least two months before they actually come into circulation (information on their value and illustrations provided by the national central banks and relevant ministries);
  • The rates and rules for conversion and rounding, and the fact that conversion will be carried out on the total; providing in particular examples of conversion and simple tools for doing it;
  • The reference currency used in dual pricing calculations, both in consumer information material and on bills and invoices;
  • The rules of conduct represented by the label;
  • The address of the body responsible for managing the label, and opportunities for lodging complaints in the event of failure to honour commitments.

Commitment No 4 :

To ensure, once the label has been obtained:

  • Comprehensive dual pricing:
  • on all products visibly marked as on special offer in the shop;
  • on purchase or discount vouchers;
  • of the total on till receipts or bills;

for products or services which must by law be displayed externally (particularly in the hotel and catering sector) or visible from the outside (in windows).

  • Dual pricing:
  • on products or services publicised in advertising leaflets;
  • on best-selling products or services in shops or catalogues;
  • for tariffs or price lists given to customers.

Dual labelling as set out above, covering as wide a range of prices as possible, so as to increase understanding of scales of values.

As much attention as possible to the requirements of blind and partially sighted people regarding the readability of information.

Once he has fulfilled the minimum requirements for obtaining the label, as set out above, the professional undertakes to increase steadily, at his own pace, the number of products or services for which dual pricing is provided. The objective shall be dual pricing for a majority of products and services by 1 July 2001.

Although professionals are free to provide dual pricing in respect of all prices indicated in national currency, the minimum obligation for dual pricing shall be limited to the sales price of the product or service.

Commitment No 5:

To train staff in contact with the public so that they are able to understand and provide simple explanations about the Euro.

Commitment No 6:

To accept payments in Euros, in particular by card or cheque:

YES* NO*

* Delete as appropriate.
The reply to this question will determine which label is used (label with payment in euros/label without payment in euros
)

Information on the label

This label is managed by:

Any consumer who considers that a professional using the label does not comply with the six commitments set out above after 1 April 1999 should contact the body managing the label.

The professional signing this charter accepts the above commitments negotiated with consumer representatives.

Signature of the professional:

- see also policy developments about Euro

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