5th November 2018

Surge in requests for consumer advice

A massive 51% more UK consumers asked for help last year from the UK ECC in dealing with complaints linked to EU traders.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
It is a vital network for consumers that provides cross-border access to justice and it is at risk from Brexit

The annual report of the UK European Consumer Centre (UK ECC), published last week, shows that in addition to receiving more requests for advice, the centre (part of a network of consumer centres in 30 countries) also topped the number of phone calls it received from UK consumers from the previous year by 16%.

Andy Allen, service director at the UK ECC, said: “In 2017 we dealt with 15,240 consumer cases – that’s a big increase on the previous year. We were exceptionally busy, dealing with a very high number of contacts from consumers; mostly either by phone or email. This is in addition to the almost 1,500 cases we dealt with from European consumers in 2017, referred to us from our ECC-Net counterparts.”

The news of the UK ECC’s big increase in the number of UK consumer cases it handles in a year comes as the UK faces life outside the EU.

Allen said: “The UK ECC forms part of the wider framework of the ECC-Net that allows for EU-wide advice and complaint handling on behalf of consumers. It is a vital network for consumers that provides cross-border access to justice and it is at risk from Brexit.

“Our strength is in numbers: ECC-Net has 30 centres covering Europe, plus Iceland and Norway. It is vital that when the UK leaves the EU, the government makes good on the promise of ensuring ‘no less protection’ for consumers.”

Every year UK consumers find themselves in dispute with EU companies over problems with purchases such as timeshares and discount holiday clubs and the resale of both), transport (including air travel and car rental) and recreation and culture (including ‘sold-out ticket’ events).

The aim of the UK ECC is to help as many UK consumers to achieve a positive result as possible: a refund, replacement, repair or cancellation of their contract.

UK consumers can use the advice and support of the UK European Consumer Centre if they have a dispute with a trader based in an EU country outside the UK – 01268 886690 between 9am and 5pm or www.ukecc.net

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