The commission wishes that in future all EU countries would classify the consumer complaints in the same way.
European Commission wants to obtain more detailed information on what kind of complaints consumers are making in each member state. To enable comparisons with situations in different countries they all should classify their consumer complaints in the same way. The Commission has already started to prepare a common system just for this purpose.
The classification system is voluntary. However, the aim is that, apart from individual businesses, as many consumer complaint facilities as possible would introduce it.
The Consumer Agency took part in the Commission’s working group and gave a statement on the draft of the classification system. The agency has also passed on information about the system to its reference groups and forwarded any comments from them to the Commission.
The Commission will inform about the development of the classification system in the next few months. System preparations will continue at least till the end of the year.
Classification is a part of a larger project
A consumer complaint is one of the five indicators in the EU Consumer Markets Scoreboard. The aim of the Scoreboard is to act as a tool which recognises consumer problems and malfunctioning of markets.
The first Consumer Markets Scoreboard was published in January 2008 and the second in February 2009. The Consumer Agency has taken part in developing the indicators and gathering information for them. According to the latest Scoreboard, services are causing consumers more trouble than merchandise does. Emerging problem areas were energy, transport by bus and rail as well as communication services and banking services.
Consumer complaints are an important indicator of the functionality of markets, but the Scoreboard should not be based solely on them. At least just as important is to listen carefully to the whole operational environment, i.e. impulses rising from business, the media and research institutions.
Consumer Markets Scoreboard is part of the larger The Single Market Scoreboard.