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Reporting period: 01/2014 - 12/2014

Consumer Protection Cooperation Network

About

The Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) is a network of authorities responsible for enforcing EU consumer protection laws in EU/EEA countries.

Broadly it functions as follows:

  • any authority in a country (where consumers' rights are being violated) can ask its counterpart (in the country where the trader is based) to take action to stop this violation.
  • authorities can also alert each other to malpractices that could spread to other countries.
  • authorities, with the facilitation of the Commission, can also coordinate their approach on the application of consumer  protection law to address wide-spread infringements.

 

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Achievements

 
  • CPC network's 2013 sweep, which targeted travel websites.
  • New shared enforcement approach to in-app purchases, launched by the CPC with Commission coordination (2013-2014).
  • Projects to boost the CPC network's capacity for online enforcement, part-funded by the Commission (2013-2014).
  • Commission review of the CPC's coordination mechanisms continued, identifying areas for further improvement:

What is a "sweep"?

A "sweep" is a set of checks carried out simultaneously by national enforcement authorities to identify breaches of EU consumer law in a given sector.

  • In the enforcement phase, these authorities ask the traders concerned to take corrective action.
  • The Commission coordinates the sweep action.

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Facts and Figures

Number of CPCS cases 2007-2014

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How the network works

Under the Consumer Protection Cooperation regulationpdf, participating countries have an obligation of mutual assistance.

They do this largely by sharing 3 types of information via a database (the CPC system) run by the Commission:

  • information requests - an authority is asked for information to establish whether:
    • a trader registered on its territory has breached EU consumer law
    • there is reasonable suspicion that such a breach might happen.
  • requests for enforcement measures - an authority is requested to do everything necessary, without delay, to ban or halt a breach. 
  • alerts - an authority suspects, or is warned about, a breach. It informs the Commission and its counterparts in the other countries.

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Priorities

  • Keep improving the network's efficiency and effectiveness - through meetings, workshops and joint enforcement actions.
  • Review the CPC Regulation to identify how the enforcement of consumer rights in the EU can be improved.