Financial services and fuel markets fail consumers - says European Commission

On 21st of October the European Commission published the latest results of the Consumer Markets Scoreboard. The Scoreboard ranks the consumer markets, in terms of consumer trust, satisfaction, the ease of comparing offers, problems and complaints. The Scoreboard ranks 51 services and goods markets, covering more than 60% of household budgets.

The key findings are:

  • Services markets continue to underperform, with financial services (e.g. consumer credit) and network services (e.g. electricity) all below average.
  • Overall, investments (including pensions and securities), real estate services and mortgages are the three lowest-performing consumer markets.
  • Goods markets on the whole appear to be working much better. Exceptions include second-hand cars and vehicle fuels, which have scored lowest in the goods category.
  • Compared with 2010, the electricity and fuels markets have deteriorated most, which may reflect consumer sentiment about electricity and fuel prices.
  • When the perceived ease of switching the provider or tariff plan is considered as well as actual switching by consumers, mortgages, investments (including pensions and securities) and electricity supply score lowest of the 14 service markets analysed.
  • 64% consumers are satisfied with the choice of goods or providers (across all markets). This suggests that choice is less of a problem for consumers than issues such as trust in traders and the ability to compare offers.

Health and Consumer Commissioner John Dalli said: "The value of the Single Market for consumers is measured by what it delivers for them in terms of quality, greater choice, lower prices, transparency and satisfaction. Thanks to the Scoreboard, we can see where this does not seem to be happening. The process is about evidence-based policy to real problems that consumers face in the Single Market. Businesses that respond to consumer needs will be rewarded by consumer choice”.

The European Commission announced that it was to probe the consumer credit and fuel markets based on the findings of the Scoreboard.


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Source: European Commission