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The European Commission published the 2018 Consumer Markets Scoreboard that monitors how EU consumers rate the performance of 40 goods and services sectors. While the overall trust in markets has followed a positive trend since 2010, the report reveals that only 53% of consumers trust that businesses

in the services sectors comply with consumer rules. For goods, the figure is slightly higher at 59%. Consumer trust in services and goods' markets has not improved compared to the 2016 scoreboard. Telecoms, financial services and utilities (water, gas, electricity, and postal services) remain particularly problematic areas for consumers in most EU Member States. On a positive note, the report concludes that the East-West gap in consumer trust is slowly closing. Also, services such as personal care services (hairdressers, spas), holiday accommodation and packaged holidays benefit from a high trust from consumers.

Compared to 2016, there has been little improvement, although the trend has remained positive since 2010. Mortgages, water supply, gas and electricity services have improved most over the past two years, but they remain among the least trusted markets, with the exception of gas services.

Markets in Western Europe continue to perform better for consumers, while on average the biggest improvements this year in performance are reported in Eastern Europe again. This suggests that the East-West gap in how markets work for consumers is slowly closing. The Commission's and the Member States' ongoing activities on the issue of the dual food quality should be able to further improve the situation in this respect.

Internet provision and mobile telephone services are still the most problematic for consumers, with 20.3% and 17.5% having faced problems in these sectors respectively in the past year. Other areas mentioned by at least 10% of consumers include: TV subscription, fixed telephony, sales of ICT and electronic goods, train and urban transports, second hand cars, real estate, postal services, new cars, car rental and car repair services.

Financial services are the sector where consumers suffer the highest detriment (financial loss or waste of time) in case of problems. At least 35% of consumers having faced problems in home insurance, mortgages, loans and credit, electricity and water supply report severe detriment as a result. Other areas where consumers facing problems report high levels of detriment are airlines, investment products, and car insurance.

Real estate and second hand cars are the least trusted sectors by consumers. Only 38% of consumers trust that real estate service providers comply with consumer protection rules and 36% of consumers do so for the second hand car sector. 

Commission actions to improve consumer protection and trustImproving consumer protection has been high on the Juncker Commission's agenda. The Commission proposed in April 2018 a New Deal for Consumers, which will empower qualified entities to launch representative actions on behalf of consumers and introduce stronger sanctioning powers for Member States' consumer authorities. It will also extend consumers' protection when they are online and clarify how EU law to clarify that dual quality practices misleading consumers are prohibited.

Under the EU Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Regulation, the Commission together with consumer authorities have launched several enforcement actions to make sure businesses fully respect EU consumer rules. A recent example of such an action includes the improvement ofAirbnb 's terms and conditions. 

 

 

 

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