Today, the European Commission is proposing a New Deal for Consumers to ensure that all European consumers fully benefit from their rights under Union law. While the EU already has some of the strongest rules on consumer protection in the world, recent cases like the Dieselgate scandal, have shown that it is difficult to enforce them fully in practice.
First Vice-President Timmermans said: “Today’s New Deal is about delivering a fairer Single Market that benefits consumers and businesses. We introduce a European collective redress right for when groups of consumers have suffered harm, like we have seen in the recent past, with proper safeguards so there can be no misuse. Consumers will know who they are buying from online, and when sellers have paid to appear in search results. The majority of traders who play fair will see burdens lifted. The handful of traders who deliberately abuse European consumers’ trust will be sanctioned with tougher fines.”
Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality added: “In a globalised world where the big companies have a huge advantage over individual consumers we need to level the odds. Representative actions, in the European way, will bring more fairness to consumers, not more business for law firms. And with stronger sanctions linked to the annual turnover of a company, consumer authorities will finally get teeth to punish the cheaters. It cannot be cheap to cheat.”
Concretely, the New Deal for Consumers will empower qualified entities to launch representative actions on behalf of consumers and introduce stronger sanctioning powers for Member States’ consumer authorities. It will also extend consumers’ protection when they are online and clarify that dual quality practices misleading consumers, are prohibited.