21st February 2019

UK ECC an ‘invaluable’ resource

The UK European Consumer Centre (UK ECC), a government-backed consumer advice service, has seen a 94% rise in cases since its inception in 2008, its annual report states.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
Our recent figures show the service provided to UK consumers by this team is of paramount importance

The UK ECC, which is currently part-funded by the European Commission and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), offers UK consumers advice in dealing with cross-border disputes relating to buying goods and services within EU countries.

The free service, currently housed by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), is set to receive funding until March 2020 according to guidance published by the Government on October 12 regarding “Consumer rights if there is no Brexit deal”. The service has an uncertain future post-March 2020 given Brexit ambiguity.

Consumer feedback received by the UK ECC suggests that the advice provided at the UK ECC is an “invaluable” resource for those who find themselves without redress after purchasing sub-standard goods or services in another EU country. Figures captured by the UK ECC show that 15,700 consumers sought out the service over 2018, with its most recent customer satisfaction survey showing a 97% customer satisfaction rate for January 2019- one of the highest ratings recorded by the service since its inception.

One consumer noted: “Organisations like yours are vital in maintaining accountability for commercial companies operating within the EU. Well done and keep up the very important work you do.”

Another review said, the UK ECC “provides a really valuable service that supports cross-border trade”, whilst others expressed that they wished the service was more widely promoted to “act as a deterrent” to sub-standard business practices.

Andy Allen, Service Director Delivery Excellence CTSI, said: “Our recent figures show the service provided to UK consumers by this team is of paramount importance. Without it, tens of thousands would be left without a means to redress or guidance and with nobody to turn to.”

He added: “This go-to service helps thousands of consumers, and the feedback speaks for itself; our team use their best endeavours to resolve every enquiry that we receive.”

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