The CPC regulation allows national competent authorities in EU and EEA countries, with the Commission's support, to coordinate their approaches to applying consumer protection law to tackle European widespread infringements. After reviewing the commercial practices of traders involved, CPC Authorities can start a coordinated action and take a Common Position, in which they inform the trader about their concerns. Subsequently CPC Authorities and the Commission start discussions with the trader to make him comply with consumer laws.
Coordinated positions and actions under the current CPC regulation:
As more and more consumers were targeted by fraud and scams through social media, a Joint CPC action was launched to get the main social media operators (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) to bring their terms of service into conformity with European consumer law; and to create a "notice and action" procedure for CPC Authorities to report and request the removal of online illegal content.
CPC Authorities asked Airbnb to improve its presentation of prices in order to ensure that, whenever properties are offered, the consumer is provided with the total price inclusive of all the applicable mandatory charges and fees (or, when it is not possible to calculate the final price in advance, the manner in which the price will be calculated and the fact that charges and fees may be applicable). Moreover, they asked the company to improve the fairness of its terms of services and to distinguish professional traders from private peer hosts.
Following the Dieselgate scandal, the CPC authorities sent a letter to the Volkswagen Group, on 7 September 2017, urging the group swiftly repair all affected cars. In December 2017, Volkswagen committed to continue to offer free-of-charge repairs in 2018. In July 2018, the European Commission and national consumer authorities published their conclusions on the 8.5 million car recalls made in the Union by the Volkswagen group after the Dieselgate. Authorities welcome the VW Group’s effort to build trust in the recall and the significant improvement in the information provided to consumers. The rate of repair is now reaching 80% and the Group committed to continue the free of charge update until the end of 2020. The Commission and consumer authorities, however, regretted that the company could not give a full and clear guarantee in case of problems after the repair.
In January 2017, the CPC-network published commitments made by the five major car rental companies. The companies committed to pricing transparency and clearer terms and conditions, including clarity on insurance and waiver policies and tank refuelling options, and more fairness when handling alleged instances of damage to vehicles.
In March 2019, the CPC-network published its assessment of the commitments made by the car rental companies in 2017. The assessment noted that Enterprise and Sixt made all the required changes. Avis committed to make remaining changes by May 2019. Europcar, which now includes Goldcar, committed to implement the remaining changes by June 2019. Hertz committed to make all the necessary changes at the latest by the first quarter of 2020.
The European Commission and national consumer authorities in the European Consumer Cooperation network will follow the implementation of the remaining changes closely. Although the companies involved in this action cover two out of three of all private car rentals in the EU, other traders, such as intermediaries and smaller companies play an important role in this market. The authorities and the European Commission will continue monitoring all players to ensure they fully respect EU consumer rules.
The CPC network asked the Internet platform providers Apple and Google as well as the association of online game developers, ISFE, to propose solutions to identified problems regarding in-app purchases in online games such as: misleading advertising of games as "free"; direct exhortation to children; issues around purchase information and consent; and failure to provide trader's contact details.
Dual quality of food
On 24 June 2019, the Commission published the results of an EU-wide testing campaign comparing almost 1,400 food products across 19 EU Member States for potential cases of dual quality. The testing was based on a common methodology, developed by the Commission’s Joint Research Centre in close collaboration with all key stakeholders concerned, in order to gather scientific and comparable evidence regarding the scope and dimension of the issue in the EU’s Single Market.
In the New Deal for Consumers the Commission has proposed to update Unfair Commercial Practices Directive in order to make explicit that national authorities can assess and address misleading commercial practices involving the marketing of products as being identical in several EU countries, if their composition or characteristics are significantly different. This proposal was politically agreed by the European Parliament and the Council on 17 April 2019.
The development and implementation of a common testing methodology was one important strand of action that the Commission initiated after President Juncker’s State of the Union speech in September 2017 to address the issue of dual quality. The results of the latest testing campaign will allow the competent authorities of the Member States to base their dual quality investigations on a sound evidence base.