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.
- 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.
Facts and Figures
Number of CPCS cases 2007-2014
How the network works
Under the Consumer Protection Cooperation regulation, 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.