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Greek consumers are the least confident members of the European Union

19 March 2014 / 14:03:45  GRReporter
2062 reads

Fátima Taboada López


The consumer protection policy is a key to economic growth and not a burden on the competitiveness of the European economy. Within the context of the crisis, consumers should be placed at the centre of recovery. The challenge is to ensure that consumers are aware of their rights under European Union legislation so that they can use them every day, when shopping online or on the street. Helping consumers can even elevate the consumer policy to economic recovery because the market works for the consumers.

The European Commission has launched a new consumer rights awareness campaign that will last until 31 December. Although the campaign will run in several countries, Greece has been preferred for its presentation because it is the first country of the European Union to have national legislation for consumers.

The purpose of this campaign is to inform citizens about their rights as consumers. In times of crisis consumers still have legally binding rights. Even a long-term crisis cannot be invoked as a justification for non-compliance. The European Union already has an extensive legislation for consumer protection, but European laws are effective only if they apply correctly at the national level. From 13 June 2014, there will be new rules on consumer rights across the European Union.                                                                                      

Greek consumers are the least confident members of the European Union but this campaign wants to show them that they have rights both at home and abroad, as the government has established them by law. It is necessary to inform them in order for them to take actions and stand up for their rights.

Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for Consumer Policy pointed out that there is no European law that establishes the same prices for goods in all countries, but consumer organizations have a duty to report when there are irregularities. He said that over the last year substantial progress has been made, not just in strengthening consumer rights on paper but also in ensuring that these rights have an impact in practice.

The 5 main consumer rights:

- Have defective goods repaired or replaced for free

- Find support in your home country for problems with traders abroad

- Return online purchases within two weeks

- Obtain full information on whatever you buy

- Get your money back through the European Small Claims procedure

Evangelos Zerveas, president of the Hellenic Consumers Ombudsman in Greece, stated that the office used the practice of mediation effectively, 80.5% of cases being completed within 88 days, 70% of them in favour of the consumers. There are 40 consumer organizations in Greece, which is a large number for a country of 10 million inhabitants. The problem is that they are poorly organized and they do not know how to defend the rights and inform people. However, consumers should always go to this organization when they have a problem.

Tags: Consumer rights European UnionGreek consumers
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