The aim of the European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net) - with 30 centres covering the EU, Iceland and Norway - is to:
provide consumers with information on their rights related to their cross-border purchases of goods and services;
advise them in case of problems; and
assist them with complaint handling so that they can take full advantage of the internal market.
The ECC-Net contributes to further enhancing consumer confidence across the EU. It is hosted in the national consumer protection authorities or in consumer associations.
In 2013, the European Commission raised the Network’s visibility through specific information reports about:
- most common internet frauds;
- trustmarks across Europe; and
- application of the service directive in cross border shopping.
These and other reports can be found on the ECC-Net website.
Facts and figures
Number of contacts
In 2013, the ECC-Net dealt with more than 80 000 contacts with consumers.
Number of complaints
The European consumer centres received more than 32 000 cross-border complaints, 66 % of which related to a purchase on the internet. One third of the complaints were related to transport, and 18 % of them to air transport.
Products - Services concerned
More than half of the complainants received a positive reply. In 2013, 53 % of complaints were solved in an amicable way and 13 % transferred to other organisations, of which 54 % to an Alternative Dispute Resolution entity (ADR). For the remaining share of complaints where no solution was found, this was mostly due to a lack of agreement on the part of the trader, but sometimes because the consumer did not agree with the proposed solution. In some other cases it appeared that the claim was considered to be unfounded.
Closure of the complaint *
|amicable settlement obtained with the trader||44.5 %
|no solution found, of which:||40.8 %
|lack of agreement from the trader||61.7 %
|lack of agreement from the consumer||11.3 %
|claim unfounded||27 %
|transfer case to other organisation/agency, of which:||14.6 %
|ADR entity||46.7 %
|enforcement body||13.1 %
*Statistics based only on complex cases opened and closed in 2013.
Only partial information is available on the outcome of the complaints. In many cases, ECCs simply inform consumers about their rights, so that they can contact the trader themselves.
Consumers rarely come back to ECCs with information about the outcome of a resolved complaint. One can therefore assume that in many cases consumers come to an agreement with the trader once the ECCs had made them well aware of their rights and of what exactly they could claim or expect.
For more complicated cases, where ECCs assist consumers further with their cases by contacting the traders themselves, more information on the outcome is available.