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Ensuring the single market works for EU consumers

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Ensuring the single market works for EU consumers

 

SUMMARY OF:

Communication (COM(2008) 31 final) — monitoring consumer outcomes in the single market: the consumer markets scoreboard

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE COMMUNICATION?

  • The Consumer Scoreboards were established in 2008, by means of this communication.
  • It presents the initial methodology used to assess consumer markets and the results of the first consumer market scoreboard.
  • It also outlines avenues for improvement, e.g. by establishing a harmonised classification of consumer complaints at EU level and increasing the number of sectors covered.

KEY POINTS

What is the consumer market scoreboard?

It is a tool created to monitor consumer markets: a scoreboard which takes account not only of prices and the safety of products, but also of consumer satisfaction.

Monitoring consumer goods markets

The process of monitoring the consumer goods markets is broken down into 2 phases:

  • a selection phase — identifying the sectors which are malfunctioning;
  • an analysis phase — identifying the causes of these malfunctions.

Selection phase

3 aspects of the market are examined:

  • 1.

    Identification of consumer markets

The general performances of the different sectors are analysed using the following 5 indicators:

  • consumer complaints
  • price levels
  • consumer satisfaction
  • changes in supplier
  • the safety of products and services.
  • 2.

    Evaluation of the integration of the single retail market

  • Integration of the internal retail market can be measured by the presence of retailers from other countries, direct foreign intra-EU investments and intra-EU retail trade.
  • Consideration is also given to the attitude of people making intra-EU purchases and the problems they encounter.
  • 3.

    Benchmarking the consumer environment in EU countries

To assess the different consumer environments, the following aspects are examined:

  • enforcement of legislation;
  • redress, and consumer perceptions of redress;
  • the role of consumer organisations and consumer confidence in them;
  • the degree of consumer empowerment: in particular, levels of education, information, competence and awareness.

Analysis phase

A number of issues are analysed including:

  • consumer empowerment;
  • the prejudices suffered by consumers;
  • the relationship between import prices and consumer prices;
  • legislative indicators;
  • compliance with legislation;
  • quality, and in particular the degree of innovation, health and the environment;
  • accessibility and affordable prices;
  • interoperability, i.e. the capacity of a system or product to function with other products.

Refinement of the consumer scoreboard since 2008

Two types of consumer scoreboards have been developed and published since 2008.

  • The Consumer Markets Scoreboard tracks the performance of over 40 consumer markets on basis of key indicators such as trusting that sellers comply with
    • consumer protection rules,
    • comparability of offers,
    • the choice available in the market,
    • the extent to which consumer expectations are met, and
    • detriment caused by problems that consumers encounter.
  • Other indicators, such as switching and prices, are also monitored and analysed in this scoreboard.
  • The Consumer Conditions Scoreboard monitors national conditions for consumers in 3 areas:
    • knowledge and trust,
    • compliance and enforcement, and
    • complaints and dispute resolution.
  • This scoreboard examines progress in the integration of the EU retail market.
  • Since 2013, the two scoreboards are published in alternate years.
  • A thorough methodological revision of the consumer scoreboards was carried out in 2013-2015 in cooperation with the Joint Research Centre. This revision led to changes in the methodology designed.

BACKGROUND

For more information, see:

MAIN DOCUMENT

Communication from the Commission - Monitoring consumer outcomes in the single market: the consumer markets scoreboard (COM(2008) 31 final, 29.1.2008)

last update 23.01.2017

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