Let’s assume you bought something in another EU member state, but you are not happy with your purchase and would like to exchange it or ask for a refund. This can often be problematic. In such cases, the European Consumer Centre (ECC) will be your first port of call for free legal advice and mediation.
What is the European Consumer Centre?
The Belgian European Consumer Centre, which defends your rights as a consumer, is fully subsidised by:
- the European Union, in the scope of the European Union’s Consumer Programme (2014-2020)
- the Federal Public Service Economy, SMEs, Self-Employed and Energy
- OOBC vzw (Test Aankoop) (Belgian consumer support and protection organisation)
The ECC can be consulted for free:
- information on specific consumer topics
- legal advice, before or after a purchase.
In the event of a query or complaint, the European Consumer Centre will analyse your dossier and provide specialist support.
European Consumer Centre: support for amicable settlements
Cultural differences, language problems and differences in legislation can be complex and problematic when the other party is based abroad, even if the law is on your side.
Has the advice given by the European Consumer Centre not provided a solution? In that case, it will ask a colleague from its European network to mediate with the trader on your behalf. Every EU member state (including Norway, Iceland and the United Kingdom) has its own European Consumer Centre.
Your ECC will act on your behalf; another ECC will act for the other party. This ensures that all parties involved receive information in their own language. The consumer centres also manage the legal aspects of each dossier.
Remember: an amicable settlement is only possible provided that both parties cooperate. The European Consumer Centre cannot force a trader to respect your rights but can, at your request, provide information on the possibility of out-of-court dispute resolution or legal procedures.
The European Consumer Centre is supported by a network
The European Consumer Centre does not have decisive authority, but it guarantees neutral dossier analysis and handling. The European centres are consequently impartial and notify each party of their legal position.
The European network comprises 30 consumer centres, one in every EU member state, one in Norway, one in Iceland and one in the United Kingdom. The so-called ECC-Net was established in 2005 by the European Commission to strengthen consumer confidence in the internal market.
Contact the European Consumer Centre
The European Consumer Centre recommends that you share your queries or complaints as a consumer without delay.
Get to know the European Consumer Centre Team
Who are the people behind the European Consumer Centre in Belgium? Get to know us ASAP.