European Consumer Centre

Are you experiencing troubles with any EU, Norway or Iceland vendor?


More than 60% disputes solved amicably

If a consumer is deprived of his/her rights and is unable to resolve the problem with the entrepreneur on his/her own, he/she does not have to go to court immediately, but can use one of the forms of out-of-court dispute resolution. One of them is the free assistance of the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net), whose Czech branch last year helped to amicably resolve almost two-thirds of consumer disputes with traders from other EU countries, Norway and Iceland.

The Czech centre saw a total of 3,017 contacts with consumers last year, about 300 more than in 2021, most of them were requests for information on how to enforce rights in the Single Market. Another 1,000 contacts were specific disputes that ECC Czechia helped consumers resolve cross-border across thirty European countries.

The most frequent areas were air transport, i.e. dealing with complaints related mainly to delayed and cancelled flights, and problems arising after unsuccessful online purchases, i.e. non-refund of money after withdrawal from a contract and claims for goods purchased in this way. Others concerned a variety of services, including accommodation.

The Czech centre was successful in resolving disputes out of court in 62% of cases, almost 10% more than in 2021:

A Czech consumer ordered building materials from a German company and paid an invoice of CZK 218,334. The next day, however, a representative of the company told him on the phone that the amount was insufficient and that he should pay extra CZK 42,000. The consumer did not agree with the increase in price and withdrew from the contract within the 14-day period. The company then sent him an invoice for CZK 5,000 as an administration fee, but this was unlawful as part of the withdrawal. The Czech office of the European Consumer Centres Network processed the case and forwarded it to the partner centre in Germany. Based on its appeal, the retailer refunded the entire nearly CZK 220,000 and dropped the demand for the payment of CZK 5,000.

In another case, a Spanish retailer sent an incomplete set of furniture for which the Czech consumer paid €2,685, approx. CZK 67,000. However, the last part, the bed, could not be delivered due to ongoing problems with the manufacturer. The consumer tried to resolve the situation, but the trader was unable to deliver the goods and unwilling to refund the money, and eventually stopped communicating altogether. When the retailer was contacted by the Madrid-based partner ESC, the consumer was refunded €1,010, i.e. approximately 25,000 crowns, for the undelivered bed.

The third example concerned a coffee machine which, after some time of use, began to emit small metal particles into the water. The Polish seller refused to accept the complaint. He even used unlawful arguments, such as that the claimed coffee machine had to be packed in its original box with all the accessories. And he was then very annoyed when he found out that the consumer had solved the problem through the European assistance network, but nevertheless settled the complaint by refunding the full price of the goods, which exceeded 25,000 crowns.

The European Consumer Centre Czech Republic also handled three thousand phone calls in 2022, mainly from Czech consumers.

This article was published in dTest 03/2023.