In 2011, European consumer centres dealt with around 28,000 complaints related to cross border purchase of services or goods. The top concern, representing one fifth of all complaints (more than 5 600) concerned air travel. The main causes for complaint were cancelled flights (about 30% of the cases), delays (24%), lost or damaged luggage (15%), but also denied boarding, non-transparent prices and surcharges, technical problems in the booking process or unfair commercial practices. European consumers deserve to get clear information about their rights, and help to resolve problems quickly and easily.
European Consumer centres succeeded in helping consumers get an amicable solution with airlines in almost 50% of cases in 2011. They also work closely with national authorities in charge of enforcing the relevant passenger rights legislation (NEBs) and refer unsolved cases to them or to other bodies which help consumers solve problems out of court (Alternative Dispute Resolution entities -ADR).
Enforcing consumer rights is not just good for consumers but also benefits business and the European economy. Empowering Europe's 500 million consumers, whose expenditure amounts to 56% of EU GDP, will be a key contribution to growth.
The most representative activities in 2011 in Malta was The Air Passenger Rights stand at the Malta International Airport on ECC-Net Air Passenger Rights Day. Information and advice were provided to consumers about air passenger rights
Also, a consumer from the Czech Republic was participating in a competition during a TV programme organised by a company based in Malta. He was left waiting for about an hour and was never put through to the studio. Thanks to ECC Malta’s intervention, he was refunded the cost of his phone bill.
There was a successful collaboration with enforcement bodies and/or other EU networks: 1) Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) on timeshare cases. The collaboration was also arranged for consumers having claims in particular cases being investigated by the MTA, to be referred for advice on compensation. The Representation of the European Commission in Malta participated in a seminar with all other European networks, where each of them presented the services they offered. The Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority & Transport Malta (Civil Aviation Directorate) participated jointly in the Air Passenger Rights Day, held at Malta International Airport.