Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
Sections
You are here: Home Members European Consumers' Organisation 'New Deal for Consumers' - clear improvement but not the needed quantum leap

'New Deal for Consumers' - clear improvement but not the needed quantum leap

12 April 2018
by BEUC -- last modified 12 April 2018

The European Commission proposed on 11 April to give teeth to consumer law by publishing proposals which include tougher sanctions for companies that act illegally and a limited collective compensation tool (collective redress) across the EU.


Advertisement

The Commission is also proposing to introduce individual rights for consumers when they are victims of unfair commercial practices, like misleading claims in advertising for example - only a few countries today specify what should happen in those cases - and sets greater transparency requirements of online marketplaces.

Monique Goyens, Director General of the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), said: "The Commission is right to make EU consumer law more enforceable. Too often, consumers are left footing the bill for a company's unfair practices and find out getting their rights respected is mission impossible. Tougher sanctions and the ability for consumers to seek collective compensation are long overdue.

"The New Deal is really welcome. For too long, consumers have not had the access to justice they deserve when they suffer from unfair or illegal business practices. It will now be possible for consumers to claim compensation collectively in some cases."

It is only a first step but not a fully-fledged collective redress scheme across the EU. The EU's collective redress procedure would require claimants to first get a final injunction order from a court before the judge decides whether to allow some form of collective compensation. This can take years and carries the risk that consumers lose evidence and interest in the case.

BEUC also fears that Member States will be given too much discretion to decide which type of cases are fit for a collective redress procedure and which are not. This could result in minimum solutions for difficult cases.

On the positive side, the Commission is also proposing that EU Member States can impose sanctions of at least 4% of the trader's annual turnover for law infringements which have an EU dimension. BEUC strongly supports this approach. Companies which breach EU consumer law can face sanctions in different countries, but these are neither harmonised nor dissuasive enough.

BEUC acts as the umbrella group in Brussels for its members and its main task is to represent them at European level and defend the interests of all Europe's consumers. BEUC investigates EU decisions and developments likely to affect consumers, with a special focus on five areas identified as priorities by our members: Financial Services, Food, Digital Rights, Consumer Rights & Enforcement and Sustainability.

The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC)