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New consumer agenda

03-02-2021

Consumer expenditure accounted for 52.6 % of European Union gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019. Meanwhile, in the same year, one in five consumers said they had had at least one reason to complain about a purchase the previous year – a number largely unchanged for a decade. Increasingly, consumers do their shopping online. One in six people bought at least one item online in 2019. Yet while online shopping is now ubiquitous, European rules have lagged behind. On 13 November 2020, the European Commission ...

Consumer expenditure accounted for 52.6 % of European Union gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019. Meanwhile, in the same year, one in five consumers said they had had at least one reason to complain about a purchase the previous year – a number largely unchanged for a decade. Increasingly, consumers do their shopping online. One in six people bought at least one item online in 2019. Yet while online shopping is now ubiquitous, European rules have lagged behind. On 13 November 2020, the European Commission published a new consumer agenda – its strategy for consumer policy for the 2020-2025 period. The strategy aims to address five long-term priorities: the green transition, digital transformation, redress and the enforcement of consumer rights, the specific needs of certain consumer groups, and international cooperation. In addition, it proposes measures to address immediate challenges that have emerged during the pandemic. Over the next five-year period, the Commission plans to empower consumers for the green transition: giving them information on the sustainability of products; establishing a right to repair; and laying down rules regarding green claims. It plans to tackle problematic practices on online marketplaces, fix the gaps in rules on product safety, especially for products sold online, and improve enforcement of existing rules. At the same time, it plans to improve protection of vulnerable groups, especially people who do not have access to the internet, and children. It plans to revise the rules for retail banking and improve financial advice services in Member States. Although the European Parliament has not adopted a resolution on the consumer agenda per se, it has adopted several legislative and non-legislative resolutions on topics covered by the agenda, including the sustainable single market, product safety, the future digital services act and artificial intelligence. Various stakeholders have expressed their views on the new consumer agenda, both during the public consultation before it was published, and following its publication.

Loot boxes in online games and their effect on consumers, in particular young consumers

17-08-2020

This paper defines loot boxes and describes their behavioural effects, including problematic behaviour. It examines the regulatory framework at EU and national level within which loot boxes operate, provides an overview of public and industry practices, and derives recommendations. Framing the debate around loot boxes, away from gambling and towards consumer protection, would provide the EU with an array of tools to address problematic practices and minimise potential harm, especially for minors. ...

This paper defines loot boxes and describes their behavioural effects, including problematic behaviour. It examines the regulatory framework at EU and national level within which loot boxes operate, provides an overview of public and industry practices, and derives recommendations. Framing the debate around loot boxes, away from gambling and towards consumer protection, would provide the EU with an array of tools to address problematic practices and minimise potential harm, especially for minors.

Autore esterno

Annette CERULLI-HARMS et al.

Enforcement of consumer protection legislation

11-06-2020

European consumers enjoy a high level of rights, but when the rules protecting them are broken, they need to be enforced. The main goals of enforcement are to prevent and punish infringements, and to enable consumers harmed by infringements to get wrongs put right (consumer redress). In the 2019 consumer conditions scoreboard poll, one in five consumers said that they had encountered problems when buying a product or service in the previous 12 months. However, whereas two thirds of them had complained ...

European consumers enjoy a high level of rights, but when the rules protecting them are broken, they need to be enforced. The main goals of enforcement are to prevent and punish infringements, and to enable consumers harmed by infringements to get wrongs put right (consumer redress). In the 2019 consumer conditions scoreboard poll, one in five consumers said that they had encountered problems when buying a product or service in the previous 12 months. However, whereas two thirds of them had complained – and were generally happy with the outcome, the other third decided not to do anything because they expected complaining to require too much time and effort, with an uncertain result. When it comes to faulty products, individual consumers can demand redress directly from sellers, and if this is unsuccessful, they can sue them in court. However, individual lawsuits are highly problematic, as, for instance, the costs often exceed the value of the claim. The EU therefore requires Member States to ensure that consumers have access to alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, while the Commission runs an online dispute resolution platform. Consumers can also collectively seek injunctions to stop or ban infringements, and the EU institutions are also working on enabling consumer organisations to demand compensation in court. Consumer protection rules are also enforced by national public authorities, including through implementation of some EU-level enforcement rules. The Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation harmonises the powers of national competent authorities and lays down rules on their cooperation with counterparts in other Member States, while the EU has moved to harmonise maximum fines for widespread infringements of consumer protection rules.

Modernisation of EU consumer protection rules: A new deal for consumers

15-01-2020

On 11 April 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive on better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection rules, as part of its 'new deal for consumers' package of measures. The proposal followed a fitness check of consumer legislation and an evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive that showed that EU consumer legislation could benefit from certain aspects being clarified and brought into line with the reality of the digital economy. Following negotiations ...

On 11 April 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive on better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection rules, as part of its 'new deal for consumers' package of measures. The proposal followed a fitness check of consumer legislation and an evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive that showed that EU consumer legislation could benefit from certain aspects being clarified and brought into line with the reality of the digital economy. Following negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, the agreed text was adopted by the European Parliament in April 2019, and the final act was signed on 27 November 2019. The new directive leaves the consumer’s right of withdrawal intact. It will ban several unfair commercial practices, such as false online reviews, and require Member States to set the maximum penalty for widespread infringement to at least 4 % of the trader’s annual turnover. Dual quality of food will not be banned altogether, but could be considered to be misleading depending on the circumstances. Online marketplaces will be required to inform consumers about the parameters of their search results. Fourth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Contribution to Growth: Consumer Protection - Delivering improved rights for European citizens and businesses

15-05-2019

The following in-depth analysis explores economic benefits of policy achievements related to European Consumer Protection. Theoretical background indicates that measures aimed at improving consumer protection should provide mostly positive wider economic impact. Analysed studies related to EU legislation provide numerous evidence that it is the case indeed, however frequently lack quantification of effects. Some areas open for additional intervention are suggested in the study. This document was ...

The following in-depth analysis explores economic benefits of policy achievements related to European Consumer Protection. Theoretical background indicates that measures aimed at improving consumer protection should provide mostly positive wider economic impact. Analysed studies related to EU legislation provide numerous evidence that it is the case indeed, however frequently lack quantification of effects. Some areas open for additional intervention are suggested in the study. This document was prepared for Policy Department A on request of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

Autore esterno

Dr. M. Buwowski, T. Kaczor

Contribution to Growth: Legal Aspects of Protecting European Consumers

15-04-2019

This study contains an analysis of the legal aspects of protecting European consumers, advanced during the 7th and 8th legislative period of the European Parliament (2009 - 2019). It examines policy developments in the area of consumer protection and (digital) single market, and identifies new substantive rights offered to EU consumers. This document was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

This study contains an analysis of the legal aspects of protecting European consumers, advanced during the 7th and 8th legislative period of the European Parliament (2009 - 2019). It examines policy developments in the area of consumer protection and (digital) single market, and identifies new substantive rights offered to EU consumers. This document was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

Autore esterno

Aneta WIEWIÓROWSKA-DOMAGALSKA

Azioni rappresentative a tutela degli interessi collettivi dei consumatori

20-03-2019

Nel quadro degli sforzi volti a migliorare il rispetto delle norme in materia di tutela dei consumatori, la Commissione europea ha proposto una direttiva sulle azioni rappresentative a tutela degli interessi collettivi dei consumatori. La proposta, presentata nell'ambito del "New deal per i consumatori", mira a consentire ai consumatori di tutta l'UE di ricorrere ad azioni rappresentative per chiedere un risarcimento alle imprese che violano i loro diritti. Il Parlamento europeo dovrebbe votare la ...

Nel quadro degli sforzi volti a migliorare il rispetto delle norme in materia di tutela dei consumatori, la Commissione europea ha proposto una direttiva sulle azioni rappresentative a tutela degli interessi collettivi dei consumatori. La proposta, presentata nell'ambito del "New deal per i consumatori", mira a consentire ai consumatori di tutta l'UE di ricorrere ad azioni rappresentative per chiedere un risarcimento alle imprese che violano i loro diritti. Il Parlamento europeo dovrebbe votare la sua posizione in prima lettura nel corso della tornata di marzo II.

EU consumer protection rules

10-07-2018

The IA is aimed at underpinning new legislation in the field of consumer protection, as called for in various European Parliament resolutions. It represents a considerable body of work, based on extensive evaluation and consultation. Methodological weaknesses include the narrow range of options to calibrate the evaluation findings. Secondly, there are some presentation issues, which do not facilitate consideration of the Commission’s choices. For instance, the large space devoted to consultation ...

The IA is aimed at underpinning new legislation in the field of consumer protection, as called for in various European Parliament resolutions. It represents a considerable body of work, based on extensive evaluation and consultation. Methodological weaknesses include the narrow range of options to calibrate the evaluation findings. Secondly, there are some presentation issues, which do not facilitate consideration of the Commission’s choices. For instance, the large space devoted to consultation comes at the expense of useful and more sound information.

Revision of consumer law directives (including injunctions):the 'New Deal for Consumers'

17-04-2018

Following the creation of an internal market, in which goods should be able to circulate freely to the benefit of producers, traders and consumers alike, the digital revolution has both increased the chances for growth in trade and highlighted the existing obstacles, such as differences in the details of consumer protection legislation. Following an extensive evaluation exercise focused on a number of EU directives adopted over the years, the European Commission is keen to simplify, streamline and ...

Following the creation of an internal market, in which goods should be able to circulate freely to the benefit of producers, traders and consumers alike, the digital revolution has both increased the chances for growth in trade and highlighted the existing obstacles, such as differences in the details of consumer protection legislation. Following an extensive evaluation exercise focused on a number of EU directives adopted over the years, the European Commission is keen to simplify, streamline and modernise the existing EU consumer rules to ensure that they are future-proof, as well as to facilitate the necessary coordination and effective action from national authorities and public enforcement bodies. In its 2018 work programme, the European Commission announced that it would be introducing a package of legislative proposals including a wide range of proposed directives. The package is aimed at filling a number of very specific gaps in current EU consumer law, while also taking due account of ongoing legislative procedures related to online and offline sales of goods and digital content. This implementation appraisal aims to cover all the directives (cf. tables 1-7) that form the basis of the area targeted by the package.

Protecting and empowering EU consumers

14-02-2017

Wide-ranging consumer protection: The European system has developed over 30 years, with direct benefits for consumers in various areas of their daily lives. High standards and more choice: EU rules impose the highest safety requirements in the world, not least for toys. Lower prices: Mobile phone roaming costs have decreased by 92 % since 2007 and will be abolished in June 2017. All European travellers will then 'roam like at home'. More safety: Thanks to EU road safety laws, Europe has the lowest ...

Wide-ranging consumer protection: The European system has developed over 30 years, with direct benefits for consumers in various areas of their daily lives. High standards and more choice: EU rules impose the highest safety requirements in the world, not least for toys. Lower prices: Mobile phone roaming costs have decreased by 92 % since 2007 and will be abolished in June 2017. All European travellers will then 'roam like at home'. More safety: Thanks to EU road safety laws, Europe has the lowest accident fatality rate in the world – deaths fell by 43 % between 2001 and 2010 and again by 17 % from 2010 to 2015.

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