The European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) is an EU-wide network to promote consumer confidence by advising citizens on their rights as consumers and providing easy access to redress. The overall aim is for consumers to feel as confident when shopping in another country as when shopping in the home country.
The Centres offer free consumer advice and support to EU residents who are buying goods or services from traders based in other EU countries as well as Iceland and Norway.
The Centres can:
- Advise consumers on their rights for shopping and travel in the EU.
- Give practical consumer tips before purchase or booking, to help save money and avoid problems.
- Help consumers if they have a complaint against a trader based in another EU country.
- Ask their counterpart centre in the country of the trader to contact the trader on behalf of the consumer and try to find a solution to the complaint.
- Advise on further action if an amicable solution is not possible.
The European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) is an EU-wide network to promote consumer confidence by advising citizens on their rights as consumers and providing easy access to redress, particularly in cases where the consumer has purchased something in another country to his/her own (cross-border).
The network was created in 2005 by merging two previously existing networks: the European Consumer Centres or Euroguichets, which provided information and assistance on cross-border issues; and the European Extra-Judicial Network or EEJ-Net which helped consumers to resolve their disputes through alternative dispute resolution.
The network of European Consumer Centres is able to assist with any query or problem individuals/organisations may have concerning activities as a consumer in Europe. The overall aim of the network is for consumers to feel as confident when shopping in another country as when shopping at home.
The ECCs cannot:
- Handle cases where the trader is located in the same country as the individual/organisation - national cases will be forwarded to national consumer organisations.
- Force traders to take action - ECCs do not have enforcement powers.
- Provide legal representation, take up a legal case on an individual's/organisation's behalf or take enforcement action against companies or authorities.
Consumers living in EU Member States, Norway and Iceland
The European Consumer Centres Network provides consumers with a wide range of services from local centres in their own country. These range from providing information on their rights to giving advice and assistance with their complaints and the resolution of disputes.
Recognising consumers as essential, responsible economic agents in the Internal Market is one of the key principles of European consumer policy. Consumers should be empowered to make informed choices about the goods and services that they purchase. Their interests should be promoted and defended, particularly in view of the increasing complexity of the markets in which they operate.