Today, the European Commission presented its 2018 Consumer Markets Scoreboard, which examines the consumers' perspective on 40 EU markets along different indicators such as trust in consumer protection or satisfaction with product quality.
Despite a prevailing upward trend since 2010, consumer trust has increased significantly compared to the last 2016 Scoreboard. Particularly the telecommunications, financial services and utilities (i.e. water, electricity) sectors continue to display considerable trust deficits.
These are the main results:
The sectors for mortgages as well as water supply, gas and electricity services have seen the biggest improvements since 2016 but remain among the most untrustworthy markets for consumers – except for gas services.
Consumers still rate consumer markets better in Western Europe than in Eastern Europe. The latter, however, showed the greatest potential for improvement – this could indicate a convergence of the EU-wide disparities between East and West in the functioning of consumer markets.
The telecommunications sector remains extremely problematic for consumers. 20.3 percent report problems with Internet service providers and 17.5 percent report issues with mobile phone services.
Moreover, at least 10 percent of consumers refer to relevant difficulties regarding, among others, television subscriptions, electronic goods sales, train and commuter traffic, postal services, new cars, car rental and car repair services.
Consumers reported the highest detriment in terms of time waste or money loss in the financial services sector. Also, at least 35 percent experienced serious disadvantages in dealing with problems with home insurance, mortgages, loans and credit, electricity and water supply. Major disadvantages arose from difficulties with airlines, investment products and car insurance.
In the real estate and used-car markets, the lowest level of consumer trust prevails. Merely 38 percent of consumers trusted that real estate service providers complied with consumer protection regulations – in the used car sector, it was 36 percent.
Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, commented on this: "Consumer trust is growing, but there are still too many consumers that have bad experiences in certain markets, for instance when buying real estate or a second-hand car. In April 2018, we presented a ‘New Deal for Consumers' to strengthen enforcement of consumer rights and give consumers new means to defend their rights. The possibility to launch a collective action should give consumers more trust that they can defend their rights and push businesses to better respect the rules."
Source: European Commission