Multilateral cooperation within Europe when dealing with cross-border consumer problems just became more effective as new rules came into effect today. All consumer authorities in Europe now have the same powers when carrying out investigations into consumer problems, such as imposing fines on companies that violate the rules. As a result thereof, all consumers in Europe are now better protected. For the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), little will change in practice, as ACM already had most of these powers.
Europe-wide cooperation when dealing with consumer problems
The CPC Regulation forms the basis for cooperation between consumer authorities in the EU Member States, Norway, and Iceland. CPC stands for Consumer Protection Cooperation. And with all authorities in the CPC network now having similar powers, cooperation can become even more intensive, in particular when dealing with companies that cause consumer problems in different EU countries. In such situations, the CPC network will be able to launch a common action in order to force the company in question to stop the violations. If the company fails to do so, it risks fines in multiple member states. The European Commission, too, is able to launch common actions when encountering violations in a large number of European countries. Such joint approaches are successful, such as in the recent cases involving Airbnb and Booking.com.
European network of consumer authorities
Within CPC, the European consumer authorities work together when dealing with cross-border consumer problems. For example, if Dutch consumers experience problems with a French online retailer, ACM can ask the French consumer authority to take action against this company. Such requests are not optional. The French authority must take action, but it can decide for itself in what way.