Quality charter of the European Consumer Centres (ECC-Net)
“Fast, free and fair solutions for EU-consumers !”
The European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) offers free information on European consumer rights and provides advice and assistance aiming at the amicable resolution of cross-border consumer complaints.
The European Consumer Centres are funded by the European Commission and each of the participating states.
As a network of 30 centres working closely together in the EU, Iceland and Norway, we are committed to make the Single Market work smoothly to European consumers. Therefore, it is our aim to provide a harmonised and high quality professional service by competentlegal staff. Consumers can rely on tailored legal advice and assistance.
This quality charter will explain how we will try to assist you and the service standards you can expect from us.
1. Understanding your expectations
Once you register a request for information or assistance with us, we’ll make sure we understand your request and provide you with a personalized, complete, clear, practical and understandable answer.
If ever you have contacted us on a topic outside our scope of competence, we will ensure that you will receive information on or contact details of another organization that might be of help.
2. Answering as fast as we can
We answer to all enquiries as soon as we possibly can. Due to the high amount of requests we receive and the overall limited resources of the network, sometimes it may take as a bit longer. But we will answer no later than 14 days after receipt of your request.
3. Giving you valuable advice and guidance
A team of competent advisors will inform you of your consumer rights and the most suitable solution including the most efficient procedure in your case.
These procedures include
- information on your consumer rights
- assistance to settle your case by yourself
- if you couldn’t find a direct solution with the trader, the out-of-court-solutions available in your case (see also under point 4)
- other options at hand if even after our intervention no amicable solution could be found with your trader.
4. Assist you through a cross-border out-of-court settlement procedure
We will assist you with finding an amicable solution with the trader in another Member state, Iceland and Norway.
Throughout the entire procedure the European Consumer Centre in your country of residence will remain your contact and inform you about the follow up of your case.
The sister office in the country of establishment of the trader will take in charge the correspondence with your counterpart. This enables both parties to communicate in their language and us to cover in a very efficient way all languages of the EU, making the whole process as simple as possible.
Please note that our mission is strictly limited to the out-of-court settlement of consumer disputes. We have no police or investigation powers and cannot sanction a trader. We are no substitute to a court procedure which remains open to you. We will then close your case.
5. Entrusting an out-of-court dispute settlement body with your case
If no amicable solution could be found directly with your trader, we may suggest your case to be forwarded to an out-of-court-dispute settlement body. If this is the case, we will provide you with the relevant information on the out-of-court-dispute settlement body, its procedure including the decision making.
6. Having a long term view/The added value of your case for all consumers
As we deal with cross-border consumer complaints and disputes, we are in a unique position to document the problems consumers face when shopping within the EU. Based on your consumer experiences, the ECC-Net pools its knowledge and expertise, and works with enforcement authorities, national and European stakeholders in the collective interest of consumers. We may give our input for new legislative proposals or sectors that in our opinion need enforcement.
7. Protecting your personal data and privacy
We take the protection of your personal data very seriously. Your data will exclusively be collected, saved and used to process your complaint within the network of the European Consumer Centres and to safeguard your interests. In some countries however all submitted information will be handled according to the national law which includes your data to be accessible to the public upon demand. For this we need your agreement. The data « privacy statement » edited by the European Commission informs you about how we use your personal data as well as your rights regarding its use.
8. Being open to your feedback
We are attentive to all comments helping us to improve the quality of our service. Do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org also if you are not happy with the service we provided. We will look into your case and get back to you. You may also receive a consumer satisfaction survey from us. Please help us to improve by answering to this survey.
Annex to the quality charter
Matters in and out of scope of the ECC-Net.
The ECC-Net is competent:
If the request comes from a consumer, meaning a 'natural person who is acting for the purposes which are outside his trade, business and profession'
and concerns a professional trader
If there is a cross border context to the claim within the EU, Iceland and Norway
The ECC is not competent:
For complaints involving two private individuals (purchase of goods or holiday rentals between two private persons for example)
For complaints involving two traders (for example claims linked to business directories)
If the complaint concerns a trader outside the geographical scope of the network (Switzerland, USA, China, Russia…)
If the trader has expressly refused to cooperate with the ECC-Net
If you have already started a legal procedure/court procedure
If your query relates to a matter that falls outside the remit of ECC-Net, we will inform you accordingly and provide the contact details of any relevant body or organisation competent to deal with your query. This will be the case for example
If we cannot identify the trader (false addresses, hidden registrar of webdomain….)
In case of fraud (counterfeiting, so called snowball systems, …)
For specific investment products such as forex and binary options
 This is the case for all data shared with ECC Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden (Information on the principle of public access on the Swedish Government website).