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    Reporting period: 01/2015 - 12/2015

    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:

    • providing consumers with information on their rights as regards buying goods and services in another EU country;
    • advising them in case of problems; and
    • assisting them through complaint handling, so they can take full advantage of the single market.

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    Achievements

    2015 marks the 10th anniversary of the decision by the European Commission and national governments, to set up the network of European Consumer Centres.

    Over the last 10 years:

    • Over 650 000 consumers have benefited from direct assistance.
    • Consumers  and traders have received topical information on a need basis (travel app, websites, online tips).
    • Early warnings have been provided on emerging market trends (e.g. report on geographical discrimination).
    • The network has supported enforcement authorities by providing evidence.
    • Data has been provided as an input into EU policies (Digital Single Market, Single Market Strategy, review of small claims procedure, Passenger Rights Regulation and Timeshare Directive)

    In 2015, the European Consumer Centres Network drew up a series of reports on issues of practical concern to consumers, such as:

    • timeshares, including the Top 10 Tips for consumerspdf Choose translations of the previous link 
    • air passengers rights
    • buying a car in one EU country and registering it in another one

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    Facts and figures

    Number of contacts

    In 2015, the network had over 93 964 contacts from consumers.

    Number of complaints

    ECCs received over 38 048 complaints:

    • 68% of all complaints concerned an online purchase.
    • 36% concerned transport (see chart below); 22.2% of all complaints related to air transport and 5% to car rental.

    Products - services concerned

    Resolution of complaints:

    In 2015, the Network was able to help over half the complainants.

    • 51% of complex cases (where more than one centre had to be involved) were resolved amicably
    • 16.35% of the closed complex complaints were transferred to other organisations (of which 26% were alternative dispute resolution entities; 11.1% to enforcement bodies and 27.8% to courts).

    No solution was found for the rest 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 2015.

    How were complaints closed? 

    Percentage 2015

    amicable settlement with trader51.2%
    no solution found - of which:32.4%
    lack of agreement from trader61.6%
    lack of agreement from consumer6.6%
    complaint unfounded22%
    transfer case to other body - of which:16.4%
    alternative dispute resolution (ADR) entity26%
    court27.8%
    enforcement body11.1%

    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

    • Increase 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.