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    Reporting period: 1/2017 - 12/2017

    European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net)

    About

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

    The ECC-Net helps boost consumer confidence across the EU by:

    • telling  consumers about their rights as regards buying goods and services in another EU country;
    • advising them on any problems that arise
    • assisting them through complaint handling, so they can take full advantage of the Single Market.

    The ECC-Net also observes trends and issues arising in connection with cross-border transactions in the Single Market, and looking to the future, the Single Digital Market.

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    Achievements

    In 2017:

    • Almost 100 000 consumers received direct assistance. Consumers were given bespoke information on a needs basis (travel app, websites, online tips).
    • The network supported enforcement authorities by providing evidence about repeated cases.
    • More than 20 European consumer centres (ECCs) serve as contact points for:
      1. the new online dispute resolution platform designed to help EU consumers solve online shopping problems
      2. the Services Directive (Article 21)

    Recently, the European Consumer Centre Network (ECC) drew up a series of reports on issues of practical concern to consumers, such as:

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    Facts and figures

    In 2017, the network was contacted by consumers almost 100 000 times.

    In 2017, ECCs received 47 485 complaints:

    • 74.3% had to do with an online purchase.
    • 36.5% had to do with transport (see chart below); 22.4% of all complaints related to air transport and 6% to car rental.

    Resolution of complaints:

    In 2017, the network Network amicably resolved almost half the complex cases (cases involving more than one consumer centre).

    The remaining cases were either referred to other organisations (including alternative dispute resolution bodies (ADRs), enforcement bodies or courts) or closed without a solution having been found, because:

    • the consumer disagreed with the proposed solution, or
    • the complaint was considered to be unfounded
    • In all instances, consumers were advised on possible options.

      Complex cases:

      The table below shows a subset of the complex cases which were created and closed in 2017.

      How were normal complaints closed? 

      Percentage 2017

      Amicable settlement with trader48.8%
      No solution found, of which:34.4%
      lack of agreement from trader74.8%
      lack of agreement from consumer7.4%
      complaint unfounded17.8%
      case transferred to other organisations, of which:16.8%
      alternative dispute resolution (ADR) body23.7%
      court34.5%
      enforcement body6.8%

      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. Consumers rarely provide the ECC with feedback, so we have to assume they have 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

    • Give the network and its outcomes a higher profile among consumers, business and enforcement authorities
    • Further develop quality standards to ensure a high standard of service to consumers.