Date: 1st October 2019

As consumers, we have all been ripped off at some point in our lives by a dishonest company or service provider. We have all been a victim of a scam, small or large, and lost money due to the mis-selling of, or misinformation about, one product or another. Most of the time the amount of damage or harm done is limited, albeit upsetting and painful. And most of the time it stops there.

It stops there because we don’t necessarily have the time, resources or knowledge to initiate legal proceedings against our wrongdoers. When our rights as consumers have been breached and we suffered detriment due to illegal or unfair practices, we often find ourselves alone without any recourse or redress.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. For 24 years now, an EU-level proposal - the Collective Redress Directive - that would allow consumer organisations to take up important legal fights on your behalf and obtain compensation for you, has been on the table in some shape or form.

If this Directive were to be adopted, European consumers would no longer face this uphill struggle alone, since Collective Redress would allow consumer organisations to group all those affected by a certain illegal practice together to defend their rights and obtain due compensation for the detriment suffered.

Yet, all this time the governments and politicians you voted for at home, and the representatives you sent to Brussels in your name, seem hellbent at denying EU Citizens their consumer right to redress.

It would seem that national governments, more often than not, put the needs of businesses before those of consumers, forcing the European Commission (EC) and Parliament (EP) to give in to national governments and industry lobbyists and water down consumer protection standards.

Nothing has changed to this day: the EC published their proposal for a Directive in March 2018. The EP then voted for amendments to the Directive, severely limiting its scope and impact, removing EU Citizens as Savers and Investors from its scope. Now it’s the Council’s turn to do the same. If the European Parliament already inflicted serious damage to the Directive, everything seems to suggest that the Council is set to deliver the knock-out blow.

Don’t let private interests from your countries get in the way of your rights as citizens and consumers! BETTER FINANCE for one, is doing its part in trying to obtain an EU-wide consumer collective redress scheme for you. Find out more about BETTER FINANCE’s campaign here.