On 13 June 2014, new consumer regulations will come into effect that will strengthen the position of consumers. That is why the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) today launched a campaign on its consumer portal ConsuWijzer.nl: “Consumers are the champions”. This campaign stimulates consumers to find out more about the new rules and to come into action when experiencing problems with businesses. ConsuWijzer.nl explains the new regulations in a clear manner. It also offers consumers additional tools that help them stand up for their rights.
Anita Vegter, Member of the Board of ACM, explains: “We enforce compliance with these regulations, and we are able to intervene in case of collective violations. However, it would obviously be better if consumers themselves took action in case of problems. That is why we wish to create awareness among consumers about their rights, so that they are really able to come into action.”
New consumer regulations
The new regulations will come into force on 13 June 2014. The new rules will apply to all agreements that will be concluded on or after 13 June. Agreements that have been concluded before 13 June will continue to fall under the ‘old’ rules.
The most important changes are:
- the grace period for agreements that consumers enter into online or by phone is extended to 14 days;
- the grace period of 14 days is also applicable to door-to-door sales and street vending in case of purchases of more than EUR 50;
- if sellers do not properly inform consumers about the grace period, this period will then be extended to a maximum of 12 months;
- agreements concerning a constant service, like telephone subscriptions or energy contracts, are only valid if consumers have agreed to such services in writing;
- a ceiling will be introduced for the costs of calls to customer service lines using 090x-numbers; the maximum rate for such calls will be EUR 1 plus the normal charges.
ACM enforces compliance with the new regulations. If consumers have indications about companies that insufficiently comply with the regulations or fail to comply with them at all, they can submit those indications to ACM using Consuwijzer.nl. Earlier this year, ACM started to inform companies through www.acm.nl. Businesses have been able to implement the changes during the past few months.
Campaign ‘Consumers are the champions’
ConsuWijzer has launched the campaign ‘Consumers are the champions’ to make consumers aware of the new rules. The new rules apply to purchases that are made in (brick-and-mortar) shops, online, by phone or outside of shops (for example in the street or at the door). Consumers are the champions if they know the rules and if they come into action if a problem about a purchase arises.
All the information on the new rules is listed on ConsuWijzer.nl . It also offers consumers practical tools to solve their problems with businesses. For example, consumers can use the ‘conversation plan’, a useful tool to prepare a conversation with a salesperson about a problem with a purchase. Consumers have a better chance of persuading salespeople if they know their rights and if they have their arguments ready.
With this campaign, ConsuWijzer wants to motivate consumers: you have more rights now, so come into action if you have a problem about a purchase! Because: consumers are the champions!