Who are we?
The national European Consumer Centres (ECC) established in all Member States of the EU – such as in Hungary – and also in Iceland and Norway form together the European Consumer Centres' Network (ECC-NET).
The since 2006 existing European Consumer Centre Hungary is hosted by the Ministry of National Development from the 1st of January 2017.
The European Union including countries with different legal traditions today is an economic area without internal borders, which means that any entrepreneur can carry out economic or commercial activities - under almost the same conditions in any Member State due to the harmonization of the laws - within the jurisdiction of the EU.
Besides, since the Union has no internal borders and no restraint on travelling it allows consumers to travel and purchase products without restriction in all Member States (principle of free movement of persons, goods and services). Europe without internal borders enables consumers to order services or buy goods in a Member State other than the country of residence.
Such transactions and activities when a consumer enters into a contractual relationship with a trader seated in a Member State other than his/her residence, is called a cross-border transaction or cross-border purchase.
As long as the contract is fulfilled as previously agreed (for example: we receive the product after paying the price, it arrives on time, the quality is appropriate and in case of failure the retailer fulfils our legitimate claims concerning the guarantee rights), we contentedly enjoy the advantages of the cross border transactions such as the lower prices or the availability of rare products.
However it may occur that the product or the service which we have received differs from what we have previously agreed on in a contract. This results in a consumer complaint, a legal dispute. In this case we are facing the difficulties of the cross border transactions such as the lack of knowledge of a foreign language or the given country’s legal system where the entrepreneur’s headquarters are located.
For facilitating the settlement of such cross border consumer complaints and legal disputes, it is reasonable to ask for the free help and assistance of the European Consumer Centre.
The assistance is
- free of charge;
- informal and simple;
- successful in many cases; and
- litigation can be avoided.
- If the contribution of the ECC is not successful, the ECC will give advice on the alternative dispute resolution procedures (arbitration boards) and other out-of-court options to settle the individual legal disputes.
- Upon consumer’s request it forwards the consumer complaint to the competent alternative dispute resolution body (arbitration board)
- It provides useful advice on the content, nature and also the benefits and potential risks of the different cross border transactions or commercial practices.
- It provides information about the national and EU laws and the contact details of the EU institutions.
- It provides information about consumer rights
- It represents consumer protection aspects in the framework of national and EU legislation processes
- It initiates and ensures professional cooperation with other EU networks aiming at the information and protection of consumer interests (e.g.: SOLVIT, Europe Direct etc.).