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Help to see through unclear pricing - 31/01/2008

Shopper using a self-scan bar-code reader in a supermarket

New scoreboard will help you compare the prices of goods and services in different EU countries.

How can a digital camera cost 30% more in one EU country than in another? Why are you charged for having a bank account in some countries but not in others? Regional differences in living standards naturally affect prices to a certain extent. But it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that some high prices are the result of cartels, barriers to free competition, and deliberately opaque pricing systems designed to stop us identifying the best deal.

Europeans have a right to expect real results from the single market. The Commission is therefore introducing Consumer MarketWatch – a new monitoring tool concerned not just with price and product safety, but with consumer satisfaction too.

The first European consumer market scoreboard will be published on 31 January. Still incomplete, as data is still not comparable in all areas, it covers three main sectors: retail financial services, cross-border sales of consumer goods (such as cameras, CDs and books) and rights of redress.

The new tool is part of the single market review, launched last November, which has already led to changes in the telecommunications and energy sectors.

Your consumer rights

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