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21 June 2016

European consumer groups meet Slovak EU Presidency

The European Consumer Organisation and its Slovak member ZSS met the Slovak First Secretary of State of the Ministry of the Economy, Mr Rastislav Chovanec, to present their expectations for the first ever Slovak EU Council Presidency.

Our work areas

Consumer rights

The revision of the consumer legislation acquis, which started nearly 10 years ago, has still not been finalised: the 2011 Consumer Rights Directive did not cover the important element of legal guarantees and did not provide protection for digital products.

Rights regarding legal guarantees must be improved to make their exercise easier in practice, including having better solutions when durable products are defective.

We are also calling for new laws on digital goods. The European Commission’s proposal for an optional European Sales Law, which would cover these, is not a solution for European consumers - they need reliable legislation, applicable to all traders not only a few who opt for it.

We also try to ensure that legislation on unfair commercial practices and consumer information requirements are applied more coherently and are better enforced.

In relation to transport, we work on air passengers’ rights as well as package travel law. The transport sector tops consumer complaints in the EU and so we aim to have passenger rights improved and better enforced.

Finally, insurance contract law is a new field of work for us. BEUC is a member of the European Commission’s expert group. Insurance contract law is essential for consumers, but so far has not been harmonised at EU level.

Enforcement

Besides our efforts to improve laws, their enforcement and redress when they are breached are also focal points of our work. National enforcement authorities need adequate powers to investigate and stop infringements, while they should cooperate among themselves to ensure coherent enforcement of consumer rights throughout the EU.

If consumers are harmed, various redress tools, including independent Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and effective Collective Redress procedures, should be available for consumers to obtain the compensation to which they are entitled.

Our objectives

Consumer Rights

  • Since the Consumer Rights Directive’s adoption in 2011 that the EU continues to update and modernise the existing consumer law acquis, particularly on legal guarantees
  • Additional, non-optional EU measures where necessary to ensure consumer law meets a truly high protective level, is fully adapted to new technologies and addresses consumers’ real needs
  • Improving unfair commercial practices legislation via guidelines, with better and coherent enforcement across the EU
  • EU air passenger rights legislation improved and completed. Legislation must be better enforced to ensure the difficulties consumers face when travelling by air are reduced
  • Package travel legislation should be modernised to meet consumers’ needs in a more complex market of new products and technology
  • If insurance contract regulation at EU level is envisaged it should be robust, offer a very high level of protection and be mandatory for all businesses

Enforcement

  • Collective Redress procedures have to be available and efficient in all Member States
  • Consumers being able to rely on independent ADR bodies, available in all sectors with common adherence of business
  • Enforcement stepped up throughout the EU

Contact Card

The European Consumer Organisation
Europäischer Verbraucherverband
Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs

Rue d'Arlon, 80 Bte 1 
B - 1040 Bruxelles

Tel: +32 2 743 15 91
E-mail: consumer-rights@beuc.eu

Deputy Director Generalpicture
Deputy Director General
Ursula Pachl
Senior Legal Officerpicture
Senior Legal Officer
Augusta Maciulevičiūtė
Senior Legal Officerpicture
Senior Legal Officer
Agustín Reyna
Legal Officerpicture
Legal Officer
Christoph Schmon
Enforcement Officerpicture
Enforcement Officer
Patrycja Gautier
Legal Assistantpicture
Legal Assistant
Frederico Oliveira Da Silva
Communications Officerpicture
Communications Officer
Sébastien Pant
Secretarypicture
Secretary
Rosa Santa Barbara