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Reporting period: 01/2013 - 12/2013

European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net)

About

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.

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Achievements

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.

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Facts and figures

Number of contacts

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In 2013, the ECC-Net dealt with more than 80 000 contacts with consumers.

 

Number of complaints

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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

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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 *

Percentage 2013

amicable settlement obtained with the trader44.5 %
no solution found, of which:40.8 %
lack of agreement from the trader61.7 %
lack of agreement from the consumer11.3 %
claim unfounded27 %
transfer case to other organisation/agency, of which:14.6 %
ADR entity46.7 %
court5.8 %
enforcement body13.1 %

*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.

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Priorities

  • Establish a multiannual framework partnership agreement for the years 2015-2017.

  • Raise the visibility of the network and its outcomes for consumers, business and enforcement authorities.

  • Establish a communication strategy in order to increase the general knowledge of consumers on key EU consumer rights.