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European Consumer Centres Network

The European Consumer Centres Network (ECC Net) helps consumers across the EU by:

  • telling them about their rights when buying goods and services in another EU country
  • advising them on any problems that arise
  • helping them with complaints
  • working with policymakers and enforcement bodies to promote and protect consumer interests.

Find out more about ECC Network.

ECC Net and the Single Market – why does it matter?

The network helps consumers when making cross-border purchases. It overcomes any linguistic, cultural or administrative barriers when purchases go wrong and promotes consumers’ rights throughout the Single Market.

Key messages

  • The network received more consumer queries in 2020 than in any previous year.
  • It has now helped more than 1.2 million consumers since its launch.
  • In 2020, it celebrated 15 years of service, with information campaigns on a range of consumer issues.

Facts and figures

Number of contacts

 
Main findings
  • In 2020, the network was contacted 167 813 times by consumers.

Number of complaints

 
Main findings
  • In 2020, the network received 83 820 complaints

Complaints by products and services

 
Main findings
  • 87% of complaints were about an online purchase
  • 46.5% of complaints were about transport (30.2% of complaints involved air transport and 3.8% car rentals).

Resolution of complaints:

The majority of cases where ECC net intervened with a trader were resolved amicably. All others were referred to enforcement, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) bodies or to courts. A small number of cases were closed without a solution because the consumer disagreed with the proposed solution or the complaint was considered unfounded. In all instances, consumers were given advice on possible options.

ECC interventions with traders

How were trader interventions closed? Percentage in 2020
Amicable solution found, of which:53.3% 
 Intervention by ECC Net 48.8%
 Intervention by ECC Net and the other body (e.g. ADR body) 1.1%
 Directly settled by consumer and trader 3.4%
No solution found, of which:37.0% 
 Intervention by ECC Net 36.2%
 Intervention by ECC Net and the other body (e.g. ADR body) 0.8%
Other outcome, of which:9.7% 
 Court or insolvency proceedings 0.5%
 Complaint proves unfounded/out-of-scope/unsuited to intervention 4.8%
 Consumer does not follow up/disagrees with legal analysis 4.8%
 Outcome not known 0.5%
Complaint outcomes
  • In many cases, European Consumer Centres simply inform consumers about their rights so they can contact traders themselves. In these cases, they get reliable case-specific information about their rights and the traders’ responsibilities, and how best to resolve their issue.
  • In more complicated cases, European Consumer Centres help by contacting traders, providing a legal analysis and requesting appropriate redress.

Priorities

  • Raise the network’s profile among consumers, businesses and enforcement authorities.
  • Further develop quality standards to ensure the best possible service to consumers.
  • Use complaint-handling data to better promote and protect consumer interests (public awareness, policy development and legal enforcement).

Achievements

In 2020:

  • Over 165 000 consumers received direct assistance. They were given personalised information (through e.g. travel apps, websites, online tips).
  • Over 20 European Consumer Centres serve as contact points for:
    1. Online Dispute Resolution platform designed to help EU consumers resolve online shopping problems
    2. the Geoblocking Regulation
    3. Issues connected to the Services Directive (Article 21)
  • European Consumer Centres are experts in alerting enforcement authorities on cross-border consumer issues. To ensure the correct implementation of Regulation 2017/2394, most of them were appointed as external alert mechanism bodies.
  • ECC-Net celebrated its 15th Anniversary. During the anniversary event, the Network launched its new website: www.eccnet.eu and the anniversary report (available via the website)

More information on the Network

The network comprises 29 centres, with one in each EU Member State, Iceland, and Norway. They are hosted by either the national consumer protection authority or a consumer association. The Commission set up the network in 2005 to strengthen consumer confidence in the Single Market.

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