The European Consumer Centres all over Europe are proud of themselves. Such conclusion may be drawn from the ECC’ network 2010 Annual Report. The ECC-net aims at “breaking the ice” among consumers in relation to active participation in the Common Market.
No doubt that such pan European initiative is very valuable. In my opinion, information activities and campaigns are of prime importance. As I gathered my early consumer experience in the Polish Consumer Centre, I am still not “satisfied” enough. I definitely would like to “empower” the Centres more.
The ECC-net exists quite a long time because since 1992. Centres conduct information, advisory activities and promotional campaign in the area of consumer issues.
Mission? Provide the consumers with a complete service starting from information concerning their consumer rights and ending with the aid in taking into consideration their complaints and settlement of disputes.
Practice? According to the report, in 2010 problems with products and services purchased in another Member State remained on top of the list (compared to 2009, generating 29.5% of all complaints). Besides products and services, most complaints related to problems with delivery (23.7%), contract terms (12.2%) and price and payment (10.5%). E-commerce transactions represented 56.2% of all complaints which is a slight increase compared to 2009 (55.9%).
Transport remains the number one problem sector for consumers In 2010, 33.2% of the complaints concerned the Transport sector, and 57% of these complaints related to air passenger’s rights. The percentage of complaints in the transport sector increased by 10% compared to 2009 (30.6%) partly due to the closure of the European airspace because of the “volcanic ash cloud crisis”.
It is worth considering that an increasing number of consumers turn to the ECC-net for help. In 2010 the centres handled over 71,000 contacts with consumers. This showed an increase of more than 15% compared to 2009, when the ECC-Net handled over 60,000 contacts.