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Reporting period: 01/2013 - 12/2013

Consumer Protection Cooperation Network

About

The Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Network brings together the public authorities in all the EU Member States (and other EEA countries) who are responsible for the enforcement of EU consumer protection laws.

Thanks to the CPC Network established in 2007, a national authority in the EU country where consumer interests are harmed can call on their counterpart in the Member State where the trader is located and ask for action to stop the infringement. Enforcement authorities can also alert each other to malpractices they have spotted which may spread to other countries.

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Achievements

  • The Commission coordinated the annual "sweep" exercise of the CPC Network. The 2013 sweep targeted websites offering travel services.
  • In 2013-2014 the CPC network, under the facilitation from the Commission, launched a new coordinated enforcement activity resulting in a common enforcement approach on the issue of in-app purchases.
  • In 2013 the Commission co-funded projects that strengthen the online enforcement capacities of the CPC Network.
  • The Commission continued its in-depth review of the CPC coordination mechanisms in identifying areas for further improvement through a debate at the Consumer Summit 2013 and a public consultation launched in October 2013 and closed in February 2014. On 1 July 2014, the Commission adopted a reportpdf Choose translations of the previous link  on the functioning of the CPC Network paving the way for enhanced cooperation between the CPC authorities.

What is a "sweep"?

A "sweep" is an exercise to enforce EU law. It is carried out by national enforcement authorities who conduct simultaneous, coordinated checks for breaches in consumer law in a particular sector.
In the enforcement phase of the sweep, participating authorities contact operators and ask them to take corrective action.

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Facts and Figures

Number of CPCS cases 2007-2013

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One central element of the CPC Network is the CPC-System, the common IT-tool used by the authorities for the exchange of information. It is an electronic database maintained by the European Commission and designed to provide a secure system for the exchange of information between competent authorities (CAs) in the Member States (MS) for the performance of their mutual assistance obligation under the Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulationpdf.

This obligation implies three cooperation mechanisms:

  • Information requests when a competent authority is requested to provide information to establish whether an intra-Union infringement has occurred or whether there is a reasonable suspicion it may occur;
  • Requests for enforcement measures when a competent authority is requested to take all necessary enforcement measures to bring about the cessation or prohibition of the intra-Union infringement without delay;
  • Alerts, an information exchange without request, that takes place when a competent authority gets warned or suspects that intra-Union infringement is occurring (or may occur) and informs the competent authorities in other Member State(s) and the European Commission.

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Priorities

  • Continued efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the CPC Network through meetings, workshops and joint enforcement actions.
  • Review of the CPC Regulationpdf to reflect on how enforcement of consumer rights can be stepped up in the EU.