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Since March 2020, consumers have even more than before turned to the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) for help with cross-border problems.
The network has recovered a total of over 4 million euros since the beginning of the pandemic for consumers whose flights were cancelled, whose hotels were closed or who suffered another COVID-19 related breach of their rights, for example an online purchase that went wrong due to the pandemic.
Not being able to travel is one thing. Losing money is another.
The European network helps consumers who cannot find an agreement with the tour operator or any other company based in another EU country, Iceland or Norway.
Especially since the pandemic, it repeatedly happens that travellers have the lawful right to get a refund, but only receive a partial amount or nothing at all.
Or they are offered a voucher when in fact they are entitled to an immediate refund.
This is exactly where the network comes in. In almost 70% of the disputes it received, it has been able to achieve a positive and out-of-court solution for the consumer.
Between March 2020 and March 2021, the network received 170,000 enquiries from consumers across Europe whose consumer rights had been infringed or who had a question about European consumer law.
This is 44% more than in the same period the year before.
A consumer from Germany wanted to fly from Berlin to Bordeaux. In 2019 already he had already booked flight tickets for the whole family.
Due to the pandemic, the flight was eventually cancelled.
But the costs, which had been paid so long in advance, weren't refunded.
So the ECC-Net contacted the airline and argued that the person in question was legally entitled to a refund within seven days. After the network intervened, they received the money immediately.
Each EU country as well as Iceland and Norway have a European Consumer Centre.
Together they form the ECC-Net. The ECC-Net informs consumers in Europe about their rights and provides free help with cross-border problems.
It is co-financed by the European Commission.
The network cooperates with the UK International Consumer Centre.
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Innovation Council and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Executive Agency (EISMEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.