Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband – vzbv
The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband e.V. – vzbv) is the umbrella organisation for 42 consumer organisations throughout Germany: the consumer associations (Verbraucherzentralen) of each of Germany’s 16 federal states and 26 consumer policy organisations. vzbv represents the interests of German consumers vis-à-vis policymakers, the private sector and in public. vzbv vzbv is a founding member of BEUC. vzbv’s headquarters are in Berlin and has a liaison office in Brussels since 2012. vzbv gets its funding from the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, as well as from project grants and membership fees.
- Food: The website www.lebensmittelklarheit.de (‘Food Transparency’) provides information about food labelling. The project checks reports by consumers about misleading food labelling and takes actions against manufacturers. ‘Lebensmittelklarheit’ is a joint project by vzbv and the consumer association of Hesse. It is funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
- Collective enforcement of consumer rights: vzbv is listed as a qualified organisation to bring cases of breaches of consumer law to court (injunction). Every year, vzbv starts between 200 and 300 actions with cease and desist letters or takes cases to court. The new German model case procedure allows vzbv to have the courts determine consumers' entitlement to redress and compensation.
- Market monitoring: Monitoring the market from a consumer perspective enables consumer protection in Germany to be swifter, more precise and effective. The focus of vzbv's market monitoring lies on consumer problems in the digital, energy and financial sector. Those are systematically recorded and evaluated in order to spot structural problems and take action to remedy them.
- Founded in 2000 as a result of the merger of three consumer organisations: Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Verbraucherverbände (AgV) founded in 1953, Verbraucherschutzverein (VSV), founded in 1966, and Verbraucherinstitut (VI), founded in 1978.
- Members in 2019: 42 (16 Consumer Centres with 190 advice centres, 26 consumer oriented organisations) and 9 supporting members.
- Founding member of BEUC
- Around 230 staff in 2019
- Executive Director: Klaus Müller, since 2014