In the run up to Christmas with more and more consumers looking for the best deals Europe wide, the report highlights the problems that consumers are facing when they want to benefit from the potential of shopping cross-border by analysing the complaints which the 30 European Consumer centres (ECC) received.
Around 74% of the complaints concerning services received by the ECC's related to situations where consumers faced a difference in price or service when buying online goods, such as music, books or electronic items. 21% of the complaints related to services in the tourism industry and the remaining 5% was in the rental and leasing services sector.
The overall proportion of online shoppers is highest in Sweden (79%), Denmark (76%) and Netherlands (75%). However, people in Luxembourg are most likely to make online purchases from sellers based in other EU countries (50%), with high figures also seen in Denmark (36%), Malta (36%), Ireland (34%) and Austria (31%).
The highest figures for frequent online purchases from another EU member state are in Poland (37% once a month or more), Luxembourg (36%), Malta (36%) and Ireland (30%). The lowest figures are in Sweden (10% once a month or more). However, people in Malta (28%), Portugal (25%), Cyprus (21%) and Czech Republic (21%) are most likely to say they don’t know how to buy online.
People in Slovakia (29%), Malta (28%), Czech Republic (27%) and Austria (27%) are most likely to say that cheaper prices for deliveries would encourage them to purchase online form sellers located in another EU Member State.
The proportion who says they always use the websites of well-known brands is highest in Luxembourg (73%) and Malta (70%). Malta also has a high proportion of people who say they always check online reviews from other buyers (66%). Malta again has the highest proportion of people who always check on the website if the online shop is accredited with a trust mark label or logo (65%).
People in Austria (54%), Denmark (48%) and Malta (43%) are most likely to say they would consider working in another EU country to improve their professional development or career opportunities.
Measures to improve the respect of consumer rights
- Consumers often have more rights than they know. Check your rights here: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/rights/index_en.htm If you feel your rights have not been respected then complain to the retailer and to the authorities.
- Enhanced cross-border co-operation. The EU's cross-border Consumer protection network supporting the cooperation of national consumer enforcement authorities is under review. At present, a public consultation is ongoing.