Consumer protectionLittle confidence in the protection of consumers interests, especially with regard to digitization

Today, the German Federal Association of Consumer Organizations (vzbv) published its 2020 consumer report on consumer protection in Germany. The results show that although the vast majority of Germans consider consumer protection to be important for their personal safety, only one fifth feel that their interests are inadequately protected in this regard.

The vzbv commissioned the representative survey "consumer report" in August 2020 and a total of 1,500 people were interviewed about their opinion on consumer protection as a snapshot of current consumer problems during the corona pandemic. The market monitor "Digital world" expands this data base to include all inquiries and consumer complaints that have been processed by the 16 consumer centers across Germany during the past twelve months.

These are further details:

  • With 84 percent of those respondents, a clear majority considers politics to be responsible for protecting the interests of consumers. At the same time, 71 percent of consumers said that they have little or no trust in politics when it comes to consumer protection.

  • Currently, 21 percent of German consumers feel that their consumer interests are "not really" or "not at all" protected. Especially in the area of "Internet and digitalization", 47 percent of consumers consider their interests "not well" protected or "not at all".

  • As part of the "Digital world" market monitor, consumer goods (e- and m-commerce with 19 percent), mobile communication services (18 percent) and complete service packages for telephone, mobile phones, internet or television (14 percent) rank among the most common consumer complaints.

  • In addition, 26 percent of consumers reported contractual problems within the last twelve months – the main problem was the difference between the agreed and actually received services. This was followed by problems with customer service (30 percent) and complicated or non-transparent cancellation processes or unrecognized terminations (17 percent).

Klaus Müller, director at vzbv, said: "The pandemic brings new challenges for society such as short-time work, dealing with cancelled events and vacations and new requirements for digitalization. The general uncertainty in the population is increasing, among other things, due to short-time working or unemployment and lower income with ongoing costs. Consumer problems that have long been known are now gaining in importance. The consumer report and market monitor clearly show which problems are the top priority for consumers. Politicians should therefore use the crisis as an opportunity to focus more on consumer interests again. We can only come out of the crisis together if we have strong confidence in business and politics. Without trust, the desired economic stimulus will not be achieved. Business and consumers must not be played off against each other."

Source: vzbv

More information & key results from the vzbz consumer report 2020