The number of particular complaints in which the European Consumer Centre Czech Republic assisted consumers significantly increased. In 2015 it dealt with more than 600 cross-border disputes against vendors from other EU countries, Norway and Iceland. Consumers benefited from free-of-charge direct assistance or advice. The remaining part of 1,113 consumer contacts consisted of consumer queries concerning consumer rights in the internal market.
„There were 608 particular disputes between consumers and traders from other EU countries, Norway and Iceland, i.e. almost by 25% more than in the previous year. The trend has continued in 2016 – we have had by 20% more cases than in the first half of 2015,” the Director of the Czech ECC Eva Petrážová summed up and noted that the success rate is from 50% to 60% within out-of-court resolution of cross-border complaints.
Complaints most frequently related to e-commerce, air transport, accommodation services, car purchases and car rental. ECC most frequently helped resolve problems of Czech consumers with vendors from Germany, Luxembourg, Great Britain, Poland and Slovakia. Complaints of foreign consumers against Czech traders came most frequently from Slovakia, Austria and Poland.
„The number of complaints concerning online dating sites also increased significantly. People get web trapped when attracted by seemingly favourable subscription offer and thinking that they ordered a cheap one-month membership. But if they don’t cancel it before the month ends, their membership is prolonged and they are supposed to pay thousands of Czech crowns for several months,” Petrážová described. Later consumers claim that contract terms are invalid due to suspicion of insufficient pre-contractual information. The centre reaches almost 100% success rate in legitimate cases.
The centre also carried out a number of activities to raise consumers' knowledge concerning their rights in the internal market. The activities included an update of the mobile application “ECC-Net: Travel” which contains not only the rights of consumers in concrete situations when travelling across Europe, but also phrases for making a claim or filing a complaint in 25 European languages.
The Czech ECC is a member of the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2015 when the number of consumer contacts was almost 94,000, similarly as in 2014. The number of concrete cases increased by 1.2% to more than 38,000.
- Download the mobile application „ECC-Net: Travel“ with your consumer rights for travelling in Europe and phrases for filing a complaint in 25 languages.
- Read terms and conditions of short-term memberships on online dating sites.
- If you experience problems with a trader from another EU country, Norway or Iceland, the European Consumer Centre can help you free-of-charge.
- All about your rights when shopping in other EU countries are on www.europeanconsumer.cz.