ECC-Network annual report now published: 71,000 EU shoppers received help in 2010!

BRUSSELS, 6 June 2011

Have you ever had problems getting a faulty product replaced or repaired, or getting a refund and assistance from the airline when your flight was cancelled? If you bought the product or service from a trader based in another EU country (as well as Norway or Iceland), a European Consumer Centre (ECC) in your country is there to help. In 2010, the ECC network (ECC-Net) provided free help and advice in over 71,000 consumer cases, up by 15% compared to 2009, according to the network's 2010 annual report. One in three complaints concerned transport, of which almost 60% were about air travel (partly due to the volcanic ash crisis). More than half of the complaints handled concerned online purchases.

Health and Consumer Commissioner John Dalli said: “The European Consumer Centres are a clear example of where the EU can have an added value for European citizens, because no single national organisation can – on its own - help consumers across the EU-wide market. I am happy that more and more consumers are aware of their services, use them and thanks to them solve their problems".

How did European Consumer Centres help in 2010?

These case studies illustrate:

ECC services for consumers: top 2010 findings

The ECC-Net 2010 Annual Report, out on 6 June 2011, reveals the results achieved by the network for consumers in 2010 and the trends in consumer complaints handled by the network.

The full 2010 Annual Report is available at

How do European Consumer Centres help?

The European Consumer Centres' Network (ECC-Net) covers 29 countries (all EU countries plus Norway and Iceland). The Centres are co-financed by the European Commission and national authorities.

The Centres offer online as well as direct advice for consumers) to help them avoid problems when buying goods and services from a trader based in another EU country (as well as in Norway and Iceland). When consumers do run into problems (e.g. have a problem with a refund, repair or replacement that they are entitled to under EU rights) and cannot come to an agreement with the trader based in another EU country, the Centres can intervene on consumers' behalf. This often involves contacting the sister ECC in the country of the trader.

For cases concerning air passenger rights (such as problems obtaining assistance when stranded at an airport), the Centres work closely with 'national enforcement bodies' (NEBs) which enforce air passenger rights under EU rules, to help consumers obtain the refunds and compensation that they are entitled to. For example, the Centres can help consumers contact the airline or file a complaint with the relevant NEB. The Centres can also advise consumers on taking their case to an out-of-court scheme.

Source: European Commission