Better Cooperation among Consumer Protection Authorities

The rules on how national authorities work together when protecting consumer interests are getting an upgrade: new competences, closer cooperation, better coordination.

How did we get here?

Since 2007 there is the so-called Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation - or in short, fancy EU-speech: CPC Regulation. It was created to support national consumer authorities when they have to deal with breaches of consumer rules in more than one country. Yet, the Commission found out that about 37% of e-commerce websites in travel, entertainment, electronic products and others don't follow consumer rules. So the CPC Regulation had to be pimped.

 

Why is this important for me?

Because an authority from one country is supposed to cooperate better with one from another country if there is a cross-border issue. This sounds awfully boring, but an example might help: If a trader - e.g. from Spain - rips you off with a crooked online game website you can go to your consumer authority in  - let's say Sweden - and they then talk to their counterparts in Spain, who will take action against the fraudster. Under the new rules it shall get easier to get compensated as a consumer and fradulent practices shall be stopped faster.

As consumer authorities talk to each other, businesses operating in several Member States can expect consumer rules to be applied and enforced consistently. So they always know what to expect and do not need to spend money on numerous laywers who are able to understand the different national specifities.

 

What's the content?

The proposal - as presented by EU Consumer Affairs Commissioner VÄ›ra Jourová - will first and foremost give new powers to national consumer authorities:

Consumer authorities will also be able to act against traders in cases of geoblocking (if the proposal to restrict geoblocking practices goes through).

 

What's happening with this legislation in the future?

The Consumer Affairs Committee is dealing with this proposal in the European Parliament and the rapporteur's report was adopted in March 2017. For the Member States the Competitiveness Council is working on this and they published their common negotiation position in February 2017. While MEPs basically backed the initial proposal, the Council limited the powers of consumer authorities. During trilogues a compromise was found in June 2017. Then, the final text was formally confirmed by votes in Council and Parliament in November 2017. The signed text will be published in the EU Official Journal and will enter into force 20 days later.

 

Related Bills:

Geoblocking: Less consumer discrimination online

New consumer rules for online shopping

Consumer rights for downloads and streaming services

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