Consumer protection: European consumer network recovers over €4 million for consumers during the pandemic

From March 2020 to March 2021, the European network of consumer centres intervened to help consumers in 8,000 COVID-19-related cases in which traders had failed to respond to consumers seeking redress. 68% of cases were successfully resolved, resulting in more than €4 million in reimbursements for consumers for services that were cancelled or rendered inaccessible, or goods that were not delivered. In the same period, the consumer network received 44% more requests for information than the previous year. 70,000 queries were directly related to the consequences of COVID-19. 93% of queries were about tourism, 45% about air passenger rights, 21% about cancelled accommodation and 17% about package holidays. Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the immense value of the European network of consumer centres: it helps consumers have their rights respected! It is also a source of information for consumers, national authorities and the Commission. Thanks to the network’s input, millions of fraudulent listings could be removed from platforms.” The European network of consumer centres (ECC-Net) was established in 2005 and is co-funded by the European Commission and Member States. It employs approximately 150 legal experts in 29 European countries to inform consumers about their rights in their native language, and to help them settle a dispute with a seller based in another EU country, as well as Iceland and Norway. The network’s experts advise consumers on alternative dispute resolution or consumer organisations that may be able to provide further help. More information on the impact of the coronavirus on consumers is available here and updates about ECC-Net are available on Twitter @ECC_web.