New report suggests ways to improve enforcement of consumer rights

BEUC NEWS - 01.06.2016

Better and more systematic cooperation between public authorities and consumer organisations would help improve consumer protection. That’s one of the key conclusions from the final report of the COJEF II project which BEUC ran with 10 national consumer associations over the last two years [1].

 

The project partners underlined that, instead of being in competition, consumer organisations and public authorities could benefit from more frequent exchanges and taking more joint actions.

Detecting market failures and consumer problems early is essential. The ‘Enforcement of consumer rights’ report suggests to find a way to gather and evaluate consumer complaints quickly and electronically across the EU in order to prevent what is often a fragmented, inefficient response to consumer complaints in different countries.

Another of the report’s recommendations is to make collective redress effective across the EU. The EU’s recommendation on collective redress has still not been implemented in many EU countries, which means consumers are left without this mechanism to seek redress when large numbers have had their rights infringed.

The COJEF II project looked to strengthen enforcement of EU and national consumer law by improving enforcement strategies and training on enforcement among consumer organisations. The project covered several areas including online services, telecommunications and the car emissions scandal.

The project benefited from the advice of three leading academic experts on European consumer law: Professor Geraint Howells from Manchester University and City University of Hong Kong, Professor Hans Micklitz from the European University Institute and Professor Evelyne Terryn from the University of Leuven.

The project received financial support from the EU budget.

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[1] The ten consumer organisations were: Verein für Konsumenteninformation (Austria), test-Achats (Belgium), UFC-Que Choisir (France), Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (Germany), Altroconsumo (Italy), Federacja Konsumentow (Poland), Associação Portuguesa para a Defesa do Consumidor (Portugal), Zveza Potrošnikov Slovenije (Slovenia), Consumentenbond (The Netherlands), Which? (UK).