The European Consumer Centres Network (known as ECC-Net) was established in January 2005 and is co-funded by the European Commission and Member States to form a one-stop-shop advice and assistance service for consumers experiencing problems with cross-border purchases. There is a European Consumer Centre in all current EU countries, as well as in the United Kingdom, Norway and Iceland.
The primary role of the Network is to enhance consumer confidence when engaging in cross-border transactions by providing free and confidential information and advice to the public on their rights as consumers, as well as assistance in the resolution of cross-border consumer complaints.
The centres act as a network to assist consumers who may run into difficulty before, during or after a transaction with a business. Our services range from providing practical support to consumers who have been overcharged for goods and services or prevented from availing of these on grounds of residence, to assistance in the resolution of complaints in relation to anything from failed deliveries to cancelled flights and unfair consumer contracts.
Learn more about the work of the European Consumer Centre Network in this presentation video here:
The ECC-Net is committed to empowering consumers and enabling them to take full advantage of the opportunities the Single Market offers. This Quality Charter describes the standard of service consumers are entitled to expect when contacting us.
ECC-Net is committed to offering a professional and courteous service to all consumers who contact us, and will ensure that the services you receive reflect your needs and expectations. We will check the merits of your query by carrying out an adequate preliminary assessment to ensure that the matter is within ECC-Net’s remit.
If your query relates to a matter that falls outside the remit of the ECC-Net, we will provide the contact details of any relevant body or organisation competent to deal with your query.
Once the initial assessment process is concluded, you will be informed about your rights and entitlements under European Union consumer legislation, as well as information on the dispute resolution mechanisms available and applicable to your specific query.
Whilst every effort is made to offer information and advice as clear, accurate and relevant, these are provided as guidance only, and cannot be seen as a substitute for legal advice.
Our objective is to resolve consumer disputes without the need for parties to engage in court proceedings. When an agreement cannot be reached directly with the trader and the matter cannot be resolved with our assistance, we may recommend engaging the services of an Alternative Dispute Resolution entity, which offers dispute resolution procedures, without prejudice to legal action. In some instances, we may directly transfer your case on to the relevant body, monitor progress and update you accordingly throughout this process.
ECC-Net members document the problems consumers face when buying goods and services within the EU, Iceland, Norway and the United Kingdom, and pool their knowledge and expertise to work with enforcement authorities, national and European stakeholders in the collective interest of consumers. Our activities include providing input for new legislative and sectorial proposals in areas that need further enforcement and protection measures for consumers.
Your suggestions or complaints allow us to improve our services and communications. Users of our services receive a satisfaction survey giving you an opportunity to tell us about your experiences and provide suggestions for improvements. We are happy to address complaints from consumers who are dissatisfied with the quality of the service provided or its delivery.
A complaint should be made, in the first instance, to the person you have dealt with. If you are not satisfied with the response you receive and wish to make a formal written complaint, you may contact the Manager of ECC Ireland by e-mailing email@example.com.
Whether you write in, telephone or e-mail, we will acknowledge receipt and make every effort to consider the information/documentation that we have been provided with promptly and within 14 working days.
If at times of particularly heavy demand we cannot meet this deadline, you will be informed accordingly.
When you encounter problems securing redress from a business abroad, ECC-Net can assist in the resolution of your cross-border consumer complaint by pursuing it with the trader on your behalf, sometimes by working with our counterparts in the country of the trader. Together, we will endeavour to bring the matter to an amicable resolution by engaging with the trader on behalf of the consumer.
Before we do that, we must make sure that the consumer has attempted to contact the trader in writing in order to resolve the matter and has a valid claim under European Union consumer legislation. You may be required to provide relevant supporting documentation to enable us to progress your case.
Note that ECC-Net has no authority to impose any sanction, penalty or fine where consumer legislation is contravened. Where the trader fails to cooperate or engage with us, however, you will be advised of alternative means of resolving your dispute, including complaints to enforcement authorities and national regulators and other out-of-court or in-court mechanisms.,
Your data will be collected, saved and used strictly for the purposes of processing your complaint within our case-handling protocols and the procedures of the network of the European Consumer Centres. All submitted information will be handled according to the national law governing data protection and the applicable EU rules on the processing of data by EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies.
Our privacy statement together with the information concerning the processing of data through the ECC-Net query handling system is available here. The privacy statement provided by the European Commission informs you about how we use your personal data as well as your rights regarding its use and is detailed here.
In some countries certain information may be accessible to the public pursuant to freedom of information legislation, yet limitations to such access are prescribed by law to protect the privacy of individuals and requires their agreement (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden).
Which European Consumer Centre should I contact?
If you live in Ireland and you experience a problem with a trader in another EU country, contact our local team at ECC Ireland here.
If you live in another EU country, the United Kingdom, Norway or Iceland, and you experience a problem with an Irish trader, contact your local European Consumer Centre from this list here.