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Reporting period: 01/2014 - 12/2014

European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net)

About

The European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net) consists of 30 centres covering the EU, Iceland and Norway. They are hosted either in the national consumer protection authority or a consumer association.

The ECC-Net contributes to further enhancing consumer confidence across the EU by:

  • providing consumers with information on their rights related to their cross-border purchases of goods and services;
  • advising them in case of problems; and
  • assisting them with complaint handling so that they can take full advantage of the internal market.

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Achievements

In 2014, the European Consumer Centres Network developed a series of reports on issues of practical concern to consumers, such as:

  • E-commerce
  • Commercial guarantees
  • Timeshare
  • the ECC-Net Travel-App, a free mobile application which:
    • helps consumers cope with difficult situations when holidaying abroad,
    • expresses consumer rights in the language of the destination country in a number of typical consumer problems,
    • provides legal knowledge and
    • language support in 23 EU languages plus Norwegian and Icelandic.

   Download the free Travel-App for Android, iPhone or Windows Phone.

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Facts and figures

Number of contacts

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In 2014, the network had over 93 741 contacts from consumers.

 

Number of complaints

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ECCs received over 37 000 complaints:

  • 67,5% of all complaints were related to an online purchase.
  • 31% were related to transport (see chart below), 18% of them to air transport and 4,7% to car rental.

 

Products - Services concerned

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Resolution of complaints:

In 2014, the Network was able to help more than half the complainants.

  • 40% of the complex cases (where more than one centre's involvement was necessary) were resolved amicably
  • 23% of the closed complex complaints were transferred to other organisations (31.5% of which were alternative dispute resolution entities; 32.7% to enforcement bodies and 16.5% to courts).

For the rest, no solution was found because:

  • the trader did not agree with the proposed solution (most cases)
  • the consumer did not agree
  • the complaint was considered to be unfounded.

 

Complex cases:

The table below shows a subset of those complex cases which were created and closed in 2014.

 

How were complaints closed? 

Percentage 2014

Amicable settlement with trader40 %
No solution found - of which:37.2 %
lack of agreement from trader70 %
lack of agreement from consumer6.4 %
complaint unfounded16.7 %
transfer case to other body - of which:23 %
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) entity31.5 %
court16.5 %
enforcement body32.7 %

 

Feedback on complaint outcomes:

 Only partial information is available:

  • In many cases, ECCs simply inform consumers about their rights, so they can contact the trader themselves. They rarely come back to the ECC with feedback, so we have to assume this is because they reached an agreement with the trader.
  • In more complicated cases, where ECCs help consumers further by contacting the traders themselves, more information on the outcome is available.

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Priorities

  • Establish and implement a communication plan to celebrate the 10 years anniversary of ECC-net presenting the achievements of the network.
  • Raise the visibility of the network and its outcomes for consumers, business and enforcement authorities.
  • Further develop the quality standards to ensure a high standard of service to consumers.