Annual reports of ECC Estonia


In 2005, special European Consumer Centres were established in several new Member States, including Estonia. The European Consumer Centre of Estonia began its work as an independent department of the Consumer Protection Board of Estonia. The Centre protects consumer rights related to cross-border purchases.
 

2006 was the second year of business for the European Consumer Centre of Estonia, acting at the Consumer Protection Board. We feel satisfied with the outcome of the year – the Centre successfully settled a number of problems and disputes, arising from cross-border purchases, assisting both consumers from Estonia and other Member States while publishing various consumer information materials, and contributing to the settlement and prevention of problems.

 

2007 can be described as successful. The number of cross-border complaints, handled by the Centre, went up sharply in comparison to the previous years. This allows us to conclude that in Estonia there is a demand for a consumer protection centre, handling cross-border complaints and one that consumers know how to find.

 

2008 represented the fourth year of business for the European Consumer Centre of Estonia. As was the trend in previous years, this year the number of correspondence made with the centre, either over the phone, written information requests or complaints, continued to increase. Therefore, one may conclude that the awareness of the presence of the centre and its activities is increasing, as is the volume of purchases made from other Member States.

 

Year 2009 was a busy one for the European Consumer Centre of Estonia – the number of complaints and information requests increased significantly. Several of the complaints resulted in a settlement in favour of the consumer and many problems were hopefully prevented through appropriate advising of the consumers.  

 

 

Looking back to the activity of the European Consumer Centre of Estonia and the cross-border problems of consumers throughout the recent years, one can first notice that the number of complaints in 2010 is more than tripled in comparison with the previous years. The reason is certainly the increase of cross-border purchases as well as the increased knowledge of the consumers about the services of the European Consumer Centre of Estonia.

 

With regard to the activities of the Centre and cross-border problems of consumers, one has arrived at the truth that the cross-border purchases have become ever more common for Estonian consumers. One of the most frequent type of cross-border transactions in 2011 are e-purchases that are no longer limited to the technique goods and clothes and footwear. The purchases include also the cars, furniture and various services.

 

In 2012, the number of consumer appeals regarding cross-border purchases took a significant leap. The most available and common form of cross-border transaction is e-commerce, meaning the purchases via the Internet. Unfortunately, e-commerce is also the main reason for complaints. Internet frauds are, in fact, one keyword which characterises the year 2012, as the centre received a large number of consumer appeals which requested help solving problems which appeared fraudulent.

In 2013, the number of cross-border consumer complaints increased notably, indicating that the consumers are becoming more active on the EU internal market year by year. Internet commerce is an integral part of modern consumption. Estonian consumers are still somewhat sceptic about e-commerce whereas across the entire EU 53% of Internet users buy goods or services electronically.
In 2014 the number of consumer complaints remained on the same level as the previous year. 2014 can be characterised by saying that cross-border telephone selling was activated, sending unwanted products to consumers related to it, also the so-called “subscription traps” problem arose. Subscription traps are offers primarily spreading on the Internet, where the consumer enters into a long-term contract and payment obligation without becoming aware of it.