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EC: List of consumer protection priorities The New Deal for Consumers

Protection against unfair commercial practices, the right to a clear price of the product or the right to withdraw from the contract within 14 days. These are just some of the achievements of EU consumer policy.

However, in the context of the digitization of the consumer environment and the increasing number of companies operating in more than one Member State, the enforcement of consumer rights across the EU lags behind . The European Commission is therefore proceeding with an extensive revision of European consumer law to improve its lack of protection.

"As a consumer organization, we generally welcome the European Commission's efforts to improve consumer protection, as we have long noted the lack of adaptation, especially in the case of mass complaints and dual quality of products," says Lukáš Zelený, head of the legal department of consumer organization dTest. In addition to the two areas mentioned above, the European Commission focuses on four other areas of concern, namely inadequate sanctions in the case of infringements of consumer rights, damages in the event of breaches of the prohibition of unfair commercial practices, consumer rights in online shopping and the right to withdraw from contracts within 14 days .

In recent times, mass claims have received much attention in the context of the recent deliberations of the Bill of Fundamental Law. The European Commission proposes that collective redress of the right to compensation be linked to legal proceedings for breach of an infringement of consumer rights. "We are in favor of trying to establish damages in cases that have an impact on a large number of consumers," says Green, adding: "In line with the BEUC European Consumer Organization's standpoint, we would welcome consumers having easier access to the collective redress. For consumers, it would be clearly better to introduce a separate procedure for collective actions. For example, an action brought by dTestem to O2 operator in 2016 has shown that asking a court to prohibit companies from committing infringements to consumers can be lengthy and fruitless. "

The differing quality of
similarly-looking goods in the EU Member States is intended by the European Commission to be among unfair commercial practices . In the case of the dual quality of consumer goods, especially food, the Commission proposes that the supervisory authorities of a Member State should assess quality misleading by taking into account, inter alia, the quality of the equally labeled products marketed in other Member States. "We have been testing dTest quality food and consumer goods for 25 years, we publish the results of comparison of the quality of selected products on the Czech and Western European market and the development in this area on", notes Lukas Zeleny.

With regard to the right to withdraw from the contract via the Internet or over the phone within 14 days, the Commission proposes that the consumer lose the right of withdrawal if the trader, after inspection of the returned goods, finds that more use has been made than was necessary to test it. "Here, again, we agree with the European consumer organization BEUC that the Commission does not look exactly. The described change would lead us to weaken the position of consumers rather than vice versa, " explains Zeleny and adds: " In connection with the proposals in the program priorities of the Commission it is necessary to realize that the process of their implementation will take some time. Firstly, the Commission has to prepare draft legislation, which is then discussed by the European Parliament, the EU Council and other actors, which may take several years. "

source: tz dTest, edited editorial

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