European Consumer Centre Germany - Help and advice for consumers

The European Consumer Centre (ECC) Germany is the first contact point for all German consumers with cross-border issues and also for foreign consumers living in Germany. In case of difficulties with a trader based in another EU country, Norway, Iceland or the United Kingdom we will help you free of charge if you cannot solve the problem on your own.

Furthermore, our lawyers are at your disposal to inform you about your consumer rights in general, for example regarding your passenger rights while traveling abroad, your rights while shopping online or in the case of a medical emergency treatment in another EU country.

The ECC Germany is co-funded by the European Commission and the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection.

ECC Germany: Our Mission

  • Inform and advise consumers on their rights in Europe
  • Settle cross-border consumption-related disputes
  • Encourage conciliation rather than trial
  • Analyse the European market and forward consumers’ requests to the European Commission as well as to national and European authorities
  • Be a contact point for consumers who wish to receive information on services in other countries of the European Union.

The network of European Consumer Centres in Europe

The European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) was created by the European Commission in 2005. There is one European Consumer Centre in each member state of the European Union as well as in Norway, Iceland and UK. That is 30 ECCs in total. They offer free assistance and advice to consumers. 

The network definitely aims at more trust of the consumers in the internal market: Providing free information and assistance to consumers in cases of cross-border conflicts should create incentives to take advantage of the new opportunities offered by the European market.

The ECC-Net enables all ECCs to collaborate in order to settle disputes between consumers and companies based in other EU countries, Iceland, Norway or UK.

Here you can find a list of all European Consumer Centres.

Network of European Partners

The Consumer Protection Cooperation Network (CPC-Net) consists of authorities responsible for enforcing EU consumer protection laws to protect consumers’ interests in the EU and EEA.

You don't know where to start when looking for international partners? Don't have the resources to apply for EU funding? Have no idea who could finance your business? The Enterprise Europe Network is there to help.

Their experts can help you find international business partners, source new technologies and receive EU funding or finance. And they can advise you on issues so diverse as intellectual property, going international, or EU law and standards.

The European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) was created by the European Commission in 2005. 

There is one European Consumer Centre in each Member State of the European Union as well as in Norway, Iceland and the United Kingdom.

The ECC-Net offers free assistance and advice to consumers.

Europe Direct information relaysacts as an interface between EU and its citizens at a local level. It was launched in 2005. 

There is a network of around 500 Europe Directs based locally across the Member States as well as a Europe Direct Contact Centre.

Members of the Europe Direct network both offer and promote EU information to the general public in their area, whilst a central enquiry point offers a wide-ranging information service via telephone and e-mail.

The European Judicial Network in Civil and Commercial Matters (EJN-Civil) is a flexible, non-bureaucratic structure, which operates in an informal mode and aims at simplifying judicial cooperation between the Member States.

It gives unofficial support to the central authorities as stipulated in their instruments, and facilitates relations between different courts.

The Financial Dispute Resolution Network (FIN-NET) was launched by the European Commission in 2001.

It is a network of national organisations responsible for settling consumers' complaints in the area of financial services out of court.

The Rapid Alert System enables quick exchange of information about dangerous non-food products posing a risk to health and safety of consumers between European countries and the European Commission.

The SOLVIT Network is funded by the European Commission to assist citizens to ascertain their EU rights in cases where a dispute has risen between a citizen and an official body of a Member State of the European Union.

There is a SOLVIT centre in each Member State, as well as in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

The service is mainly online and free of charge.

What does the ECC Germany offer within the scope of the Directive on Services?

You are willing to hire a craftsperson in another European country and you have questions on the applicable legislation? A foreign company refuses to deliver its services because it is based in another country than your country of residence?

The ECC Germany also helps consumers out in their choice and dispute with European service suppliers. It thus belongs to the European network of contact points.

The service directive aims at further liberalising the European market of services, namely by strengthening the rights of service recipients (both companies or consumers). The latter objective is promoted by article 21 of the directive by providing obligation of assistance to service recipients.

Currently, many consumers still hesitate to pay for foreign services due to the lack of knowledge on the legislation under which service suppliers of other Member States operate. Consumers thus encounter difficulties to compare offers and to choose their service suppliers according to relevant criteria.

The obligation of assistance accorded by article 21 supports the strengthening of consumer trust by enabling them to make an informed choice and comparisons when considering cross-border transactions.

We provide general information on:

  • the applicable regulation to companies in other Members States
  • reviewing options and contact details of organisations that can assist you in case of a dispute with a company based in another country

It may concern information related to various sectors (tourism, car rental, construction...) about:

  • the required authorisations and subscriptions
  • the appropriate professional insurances required
  • the principle of geographical non-discrimination

One address, two countries

Both the ECC Germany and the ECC France provide services in cooperation with the Centre for Consumer Protection in Europe, an association dedicated to Franco-German consumption-related issues since 1993 and located in the urban area of Strasbourg and Kehl.

Elected by the states of Germany and France with the objective of protecting consumers in Europe, this centre based in Kehl is the only “binational structure in the European network” among the European Consumer Centres. Today, the ECCs of Germany and France are the largest consumer centres in Europe and are involved in more than 50% of the resolved disputes within the network.