In November 2020, the European Commission launched the New Consumer Agenda including the key priority area “Addressing specific consumer needs”, where special attention is given to vulnerable consumers. To achieve this goal, the European Commission is seeking to support local consumer advice initiatives for those who lack access to online or central support. In this context, a study was commissioned to examine various innovative local consumer advice initiatives throughout the EU, and to pinpoint effective practices that can be shared among Member States and stakeholders.
The study was implemented by VVA and ConPolicy. Methodologically it was based on desk research, a consumer survey and stakeholder consultation activities, namely an online survey and in-depth interviews. While the consumer survey results helped to understand the type of advice needed in communities, the consultation with initiative providers revealed which local initiatives are currently available. Overall, 156 local advice initiatives were identified from which 35 fact sheets as examples of successful and innovative local initiatives were created. This information was also used to identify effective practices that can aid consumer organizations, NGOs, and other relevant stakeholders to expand their reach and enhance consumer comprehension of the information and advice provided to them.
Finally, the study identified four main success factors for local advice activities across the EU:
- Initiatives tailored to specific needs and problems encountered by the targeted consumer group
- Collaboration and partnerships with other local actors
- Advice given at the relevant moment (place and time) in a proactive manner
- Focus on online advice development
The study may be found here.
More information in the project may be found here.