ECC-Net


About ECC-Net

Free, personalised help for consumers having problems with cross-border purchases in the EU, Iceland or Norway

The European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) comprises 30 centres in all 28 EU Member States, Iceland and Norway. These centres offer free and personalised information, advice and assistance to consumers having problems with cross-border transactions in another country within the network.

The network helps citizens to ensure that their consumer rights are respected and to reap the benefits of the Single Market.

Our history

10 years of engagement for better consumer protection across borders

The ECC-Net is born from the merger of the Extrajudicial Settlement of Consumer Disputes (EEJ-Net) and European Consumer Infocentres (Euroguichet) networks. It is an example of the collaboration between the national and EU levels, as ECCs are hosted by public bodies or non-profit organisations in the Member States, Iceland and Norway and co-financed by the European Union.

ECC-Net has grown in size over this first decade. Since 2005, at the pace of EU enlargement, three new ECCs have been created: in Bulgaria and Romania in 2007, and in Croatia in 2013.

But from the outset, ECC-Net’s mission has been very clear: increase trust in cross-border shopping, and therefore help consumers to reap the full benefits of the Single Market. That meant cutting through the complexity of EU consumers’ rights in cross-border transactions, and anticipate emerging trends.

Since 2005, the reality of the European consumers has dramatically evolved, and so have the expectations of European consumers. The annual number of information and assistance requests handled by ECC-Net rose from 43 000 in 2005 to over 80 000 at the end of 2013. The dominant factor for this increase is e-Commerce, as it nowadays represents over 60% of all complaints – and is expected to grow further.

Find out more:  the 10th anniversary Annual

Our mission

Increasing trust in EU cross-border commerce

The mission of the European Consumer Centres (ECC-Net) is to provide free help and advice for consumers across the EU, Norway and Iceland, for those having problems with cross-border purchases.

Fundamentally we contribute to enabling consumers to better understand and assert their rights as European citizens, and make the most of Europe's Internal Market.

Our mission is to make sure that cross-border commercial legislation is properly understood and respected. As such, it is a two-way process, as we also aim at increasing awareness of consumer rights among traders too. In practical terms, we help them to ensure that their products, services and practices meet all legal requirements when dealing with foreign consumers.

In the case of disputes between consumers and traders, ECC-Net aims at finding compromises and establish relationships based on trust, equal treatment, transparency and confidentiality.

As a network of 30 national Centres, ECC-Net endeavours to ensure effective communication and working relationships between the Centres. Each Centre aims at continuously improving the quality of the services, and increasing visibility individually as much as collectively – being a united, co-working network.

ECC-Net has an additional role, which is that of supporting the improvement of policies and legislations. To that end the Centres collaborate with EU- and national-level authorities by identifying critical consumer rights issues, and anticipating necessary evolutions of the legislative processes. In this way, ECC-Net contributes to strengthening national and EU legal frameworks and implementation of consumer law.

Our values

Working professionally to reach amicable solutions while ensuring transparency, impartiality and confidentiality for consumers and traders

Customer-focused

We do our best to make sure that consumers receive the adequate information, advice or assistance. We put them at the centre of our operations as we actively strive to anticipate their needs and deliver the most accurate information or services.

Professional

We provide clear and accurate information. We are committed to responding quickly to requests, and to direct consumers to the right interlocutors. As individual Centres and as a Network, we relentlessly seek ways to improve the quality of our services.

Transparent

We always make clear to consumers or traders what can and what cannot be done. We are fully transparent about our processes when analysing cases and providing recommendations. In all cases, we provide complete legal justification.

Impartial

This is a matter of fairness and credibility: we do not take sides. We seek to establish truth about the legislation, how to understand it, and how to find a compromise which is fair and acceptable for both parties.

Confidential

We make sure to preserve and protect the confidentiality of all data and communications.

What ECC-Net can do for you

Help and Advice for cross-border issues in the EU, Iceland and Norway.

Our mandate is to deliver free information, advice and assistance on cross-border shopping in the EU, Iceland and Norway.

We can:

•   Advise you on consumer rights for shopping and travel under EU and national law;

•   Give practical tips to help you save money and avoid problems;

•   Help you with a complaint against a trader based in another EU country, Iceland or Norway for purchases made abroad – physically or online;

•   Engage with the trader in order to try to resolve the problem;

•   Advise you on further action if an amicable solution is not possible, such as out-of-court settlements, the European Small Claims’ procedure, or other legal action;

•   Help you find a suitable organisation to handle your case if it needs to be taken further.

We cannot:

•   Force traders to act. We rely on persuasion which works in at least half of the cases;

•   Act as your legal representative;

•   Handle your complaint if one of the involved parties is outside of the EU, Norway and Iceland.

The most frequent issues that ECC-Net deal with:

•   Online shopping, covering cooling-off periods, delivery times, clear information and the 2-year legal guarantee;

•   Buying goods and services including the 2-year guarantee, rights to repairs, replacements and refunds and the non-discrimination principle;

•   Air passenger rights related to cancellations, delays and related assistance, denial of boarding and lost or damaged luggage;

•   Package travel rights to information, to transfer a package to someone else, to a guaranteed price, and to choose an alternative package or a refund if the content changes;

•   Car rental problems such as unclear information on prices and costs of optional extras, and unfair contract terms;

•   Timeshares/holiday clubs, including the right to receive all relevant information before signing a contract, cooling-off periods and related payment rules.

Other EU-wide networks

Find out more about what the EU and European organisations are doing in the field of consumers rights   European Commission Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers

Information on EU consumer policy, consumer rights, enforcement of consumer law, consumer markets, conditions and behaviour

European Judicial Network

EU judicial cooperation network fighting serious crime

The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC)

EU-level representative of national consumer organisations

Europe Direct

General information on the European Union

Your Europe

Information on living, working, moving around and shopping in the EU

Your Europe Advice Service

Legal advice for citizens on their rights under EU law

Enterprise Europe Network

Support for European small and medium-sized enterprises

SOLVIT

Help when national authorities infringe your rights by not applying EU law

FIN-NET

Resolution of disputes with financial service providers

European Ombudsman

Complaints about EU bodies and institutions

Complaint form Need advice

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