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EU Consumer Centre receives 72,000 complaints in 2012

Tonio Borg, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy said the results demonstrates the increasing tendency to shop online.

Image: (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

A SURGE IN online shopping has seen record numbers complain or make enquiries to the European Consumer Centres (ECC).

Last year, more than 72,000 consumer queries were made about purchasing across borders in an EU country.

From the 32,000 actual complaint cases, around 60 per cent concerned e-commerce, about one third related to the transport sector, and 22 per cent of them to air transport.

Tonio Borg, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, presented the results of the 2012 Annual Report of the European Consumer Centres and said they demonstrate the increasing tendency to shop online.

Compared to previous years, a problematic area in 2012 proved to be the purchase of non-pharmaceutical medical products, therapeutic appliances and equipment. This reflects a growing tendency to sell such products online often with misleading or unfounded health claims, with slimming pills being a prime example.

In 2012 more than half of the complaints requiring an intervention by the ECC towards the trader, were resolved on amicable terms or passed on to other organisations, 45 per cent of the complaints were successfully closed after the ECCs reached an amicable settlement with the trader and 13% were passed on to other organisations (e.g. Alternative Dispute Resolution entities, enforcement authorities or courts).

For simpler complaints the ECCs provided advice to consumers on how to claim their rights on their own.

Read: Calls for DNA meat testing to become mandatory in the EU >

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Amy Croffey

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