UK ECC still the go-to place for tens of thousands for cross border redress
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.
The free service, which is currently part-funded by the European Commission and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, offers UK consumers advice in dealing with cross-border disputes relating to buying goods and services within EU countries.
The UK ECC, 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 per cent 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.
Service Director Delivery Excellence CTSI, which hosts the UK ECC, Andy Allen, 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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- CTSI has called for greater sustainable funding and support for local authority trading standards services - https://www.tradingstandards.uk/news-policy/vision-and-strategy-1
- CTSI Workforce Survey 2017 - https://www.tradingstandards.uk/news-policy/vision-and-strategy-1/workforce-survey
- 50% fall in spending over the last seven years
- 43% of services have reported they cannot effectively deal with consumer detriment in their area
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the trading standards profession since 1881, both nationally and internationally. It aims to raise the profile of the profession while working towards a safer, fairer, and better-informed society for consumers and businesses. CTSI’s members deliver frontline trading standards services in local authorities. www.tradingstandards.uk.
The UK European Consumer Centre (UK ECC) is the UK-based specialist advice service for consumer disputes within Europe and has been hosted by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) since 2008. A member of the European Consumer Centres Network, or ECC-Net, it plays a pivotal role in empowering consumers to confidently conduct business with European markets. Thanks to its diligent team, which handles an impressive 4,000 hours of calls yearly from concerned consumers, it is now recognised as one of the most prolific centres on the Network.