Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The New Consumer Agenda

The European Commission today published "The New Consumer Agenda", which replaces the "Consumer Policy Strategy 2007-2013". The strategic vision presents four main objectives: 1. Reinforcing consumer safety: for goods, services and food, strengthening the regulatory framework and making market surveillance more efficient. 2. Enhancing knowledge: to cope with the increasing complexity of markets, where consumers need the right tools and information to understand everything from the real cost of consumer credit to finding the right place to complain. This is important for both consumers and traders, and the role of consumer organisations is key. 3. Improving enforcement and securing redress, without which rights cannot exist in practice. This is all the more relevant given that the detriment suffered by European consumers incurred from problems causing complaint is estimated at about 0.4 % of EU GDP.1 The role of consumer enforcement networks2 is central. 4. Aligning policy to societal change and making it relevant to daily life: to adapt consumer law to the digital age and tackle problems consumers face online; to factor in the needs of vulnerable consumers; to make sustainable choices easy It is interesting to see that problems in information processing (e.g. information overload) are identified as problems and thus as points of focus for improvement. The same counts for redress, where the Commission is looking into more effective administrative enforcement, but also at ADR and ODR and collective enforcement. Click here for the full strategy. There is also an accopanying document giving a report on consumer policy.

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