Consumer rights and enforcement of existing rules need to be improved, says Commission

PRESS STATEMENT - 29.05.2017

The European Commission will today present reports which show that European consumers are currently not adequately protected in the 21st century marketplace. The findings concern in particular consumers who seek compensation for damages and those experiencing problems when buying digital content online.


In its review of EU consumer law, known as REFIT, the Commission also found that existing EU consumer rules are generally fit for purpose but they are insufficiently enforced. Too many traders do not comply with the rules. The Commission concludes that new legislation may be necessary.

Commissioner Jourova, responsible for justice and consumer policy, is due to meet EU ministers and unveil these conclusions today at the Competitiveness Council.

Monique Goyens, Director General of the European Consumer Organisation BEUC, said:

“We have known for a long time that one of the biggest problems for consumers is that EU consumer law is not properly enforced. If it were easier for consumer organisations, authorities, and consumers to take action against unfair business practices, consumers would feel safer and be more confident in using the Single Market.

“It is clear that consumers need better tools to have their rights respected and to get compensation from traders breaking the rules. A good example where consumers don’t have enough power is the Volkswagen emissions scandal: in too many countries consumers are unable to bring a compensation claim against Volkswagen although the company clearly breached unfair practice legislation. That needs to change.

“The Commission is right to step up the enforcement of existing laws. We look forward to new legislative proposals which will make being a consumer an easier and safer experience.”