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Enhancing Consumer Protection in the EU: Preserving Consumers’ Rights in the Digital Society

Consumer Protection
Date: Tuesday, 06 March 2018 10:00 - 16:30

Venue: Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre  |  City: Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Belgium

Several scandals in recent years, from the ‘Dieselgate’ to the massive volume of flight cancellations of 2017, have revealed certain shortcomings of EU consumers’ rights protection system and the difficulty for national authorities to address mass scale breaches, ensuring swift and appropriate redress. According to the 2017 EU Consumer Conditions Scoreboard, almost a third of consumers that encountered a problem worth complaining about decided not to do it. Among the reasons preventing them from complaining were: the length of procedures (32.5%); previous unsuccessful complaints (16.3%); uncertainty about where to address the complaint (15.1%) and about consumer rights(15.5%).

In May 2017, the European Commission completed its REFIT Fitness Check of EU consumer and marketing law and the evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive. According to the results, European consumers already enjoy a common high level of protection, but further efforts are needed to better enforce consumer protection laws. Consistently with what President Junker stated in his letter of intent in September 2017, the Commission announced in its 2018 Work Programme a ‘New Deal for Consumers’, aimed at improving possibilities of redress of consumer rights, as well as facilitating the coordination of national consumer authorities. Within this context, in July 2017 the Commission launched the Inception Impact Assessments for the revision of the most important directives and opened them for public consultation.

Consumer protection needs to be fit for today’s digital world. One of the Digital Market Strategy's pillars is to ensure better access to digital goods and services across Europe. To this end, action is required to counter factors of market segmentation and unjustified restriction, including direct and indirect discrimination based on consumers’ residence. The value of e-Commerce is growing at an unprecedented pace, yet the complexity of the legal framework and the differences in national laws still cause discouraging costs and uncertainties about key contractual rights, undermining both businesses’ and consumers’ confidence. In this regard, the Commission presented a proposal to tackle national contract law-related barriers that hamper cross-border online trade and, willing to avoid fragmentation and design a coherent legal framework and in October 2017 it adopted further amendments to also cover face-to-face cross-border sales.

This timely symposium will provide an invaluable opportunity for experts, national consumer authorities, consumer organisations, business representatives and other key stakeholders to discuss the latest and forthcoming legislative initiatives concerning the protection of European consumers. It will also allow delegates to discuss the benefits and challenges of the successful integration of a common level of protection into the digital space, supporting the exchange of information and best practice from across Europe.

Delegates will:

  • Delve into the latest developments concerning the European legislative framework on consumer protection
  • Discuss options to better enforce consumer protection laws
  • Explore solutions for efficient and effective remedies against consumer rights infringements
  • Discuss ways to integrate consumer interests into the Digital Space
  • Evaluate means of protection against unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices online
  • Analyse methods to achieve successful cooperation across Europe
  • Consider actions to promote consumers’ and businesses’ confidence in e-Commerce
  • Exchange views on how to cope with emerging digital challenges to the protection of consumers 




09:15 Registration and Morning Refreshments
10:00 Chair's Welcome and Opening Remarks

Evaluating the European Legislative Framework on Consumer Protection

  • Reviewing EU Consumer Legislation: Assessing the Results of the REFIT Fitness Check and the Evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive
  • The ‘New Deal for Consumers’ Package: Prospects for Better Protecting Consumers Rights
  • Raising Awareness of Consumers and Traders: The Role of the European Consumer Centres Network
10:40 First Round of Discussions
11.10 Morning Coffee Break

Stepping up the Enforcement of Consumer Protection Laws:  Ensuring Adequate Actions and Fast Redress Mechanisms

  • Defending Collective Consumer Interests under the Directives 2009/22/EC (Injunctions Directive): Assessing Opportunities for Improvement
  • Strengthening Cross-border Cooperation between National Authorities: the Ongoing Revision of the Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Regulation
  • Exploring Alternatives for Granting Efficient and Effective Remedies for Complaints
12:00 Second Round of Discussions
12.30 Networking Lunch

Increasing Consumers’ Trust in Cross-border e-Commerce

  • Tackling National Contract Law-Related Barriers: Designing Better Digital Contract Rules for Cross-border Sales
  • Boosting Confidence in e-Commerce: Enhancing the Transparency of Online Platforms and Intermediaries
  • Countering Unfair Business-to-Consumer Commercial Practices in the Digital World: Ensuring Remedies for Victims
14.00 Third Round of Discussions
14:30 Afternoon Coffee Break

Integrating Consumer Interests into the Digital Single Market 

  • Addressing Unjustified Geo-blocking: Fighting Discrimination Based on Nationality, Residence and Establishment
  • Harmonising Contract Rules for the Supply of Digital Content: Ensuring EU-wide Protection Against Faulty Contents
  • The Internet of Things: Gaining Insights into Benefits and Threats for Consumer Rights
15.20 Fourth Round of Discussions
15:50 Chair's Summary and Closing Remarks
16.00 Networking Reception and Refreshments
16.30 Symposium Close

** Please note that the programme and speakers are subject to change without notice **

Who Should Attend?

  • National Consumer Authorities
  • Local and Regional Governmental Departments and Agencies
  • Consumer Networks
  • Consumer Associations
  • NGOs
  • CSO Movements
  • Retailers’ Representatives
  • Consumer Law Practitioners
  • Trading Industry Representatives
  •  Producers’ Organisations
  • E-Commerce Experts
  • Legal Advisers
  • Regulatory Bodies
  • Campaigning Organisations
  • Consumer Help Services
  • Citizen Information Centres
  • National Chambers of Commerce
  • Digital Officers and Managers
  • Heads of Customer Services
  • Third Sector Practitioners
  • Media Experts
  • Academics, Researchers and Analysts 


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Avenue du Boulevard 17
1210 Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Belgium




All Dates

  • Tuesday, 06 March 2018 10:00 - 16:30

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