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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.

Išorės autorius

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.

Išorės autorius

Aneta WIEWIÓROWSKA-DOMAGALSKA

Representative actions for the protection of collective interests of consumers

20-03-2019

As part of efforts to improve compliance with consumer protection rules, the European Commission has proposed a directive on representative actions for the protection of collective interests of consumers. The proposal, presented as part of the 'New Deal for Consumers', aims to enable consumers across the EU to use representative actions to demand compensation from companies that infringe their rights. The European Parliament is expected to vote on its first-reading position during the March II plenary ...

As part of efforts to improve compliance with consumer protection rules, the European Commission has proposed a directive on representative actions for the protection of collective interests of consumers. The proposal, presented as part of the 'New Deal for Consumers', aims to enable consumers across the EU to use representative actions to demand compensation from companies that infringe their rights. The European Parliament is expected to vote on its first-reading position during the March II plenary session.

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.

Consumer protection in the EU: Policy overview

01-09-2015

'Consumers, by definition, include us all. They are the largest economic group in the economy, affecting and affected by almost every public and private economic decision', were the words of US President JF Kennedy in 1962, which marked the dawn of consumer rights. A lot has changed since then, but the fast-paced and ever-changing world is still a constant in our daily lives as consumers. In recent years, EU consumer policy has shifted from the technical harmonisation of standards to the recognition ...

'Consumers, by definition, include us all. They are the largest economic group in the economy, affecting and affected by almost every public and private economic decision', were the words of US President JF Kennedy in 1962, which marked the dawn of consumer rights. A lot has changed since then, but the fast-paced and ever-changing world is still a constant in our daily lives as consumers. In recent years, EU consumer policy has shifted from the technical harmonisation of standards to the recognition of consumer protection as a part of the effort to establish a 'Europe for citizens'. But what precisely does the European Union' consumer protection legislation encompass and which tools are used to monitor and improve the protection of European consumers? This document seeks to answer these questions, providing a snapshot of the main consumer policy developments in recent years, together with success stories, shortcomings and future challenges for legislators.

How the EU budget is spent: Consumer programme

24-04-2015

EU consumer policy for the 2014-20 period is defined in the European Consumer Agenda, which is complemented in its financial aspects by the Consumer programme. The 2014-2020 programme has a budget of €188.8 million, corresponding to around €0.05 per consumer per year. The four key areas are: product safety; information, education and consumer advice; enhanced access to redress mechanisms for citizens; and better national enforcement of consumer rights.

EU consumer policy for the 2014-20 period is defined in the European Consumer Agenda, which is complemented in its financial aspects by the Consumer programme. The 2014-2020 programme has a budget of €188.8 million, corresponding to around €0.05 per consumer per year. The four key areas are: product safety; information, education and consumer advice; enhanced access to redress mechanisms for citizens; and better national enforcement of consumer rights.

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