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Dr. Georg Rathwallner Consumer Protection Chamber of Labor Upper Austria.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr. Georg Rathwallner Consumer Protection Chamber of Labor Upper Austria."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr. Georg Rathwallner Consumer Protection Chamber of Labor Upper Austria

2 2 I come from Upper Austria, a region with about 1.4 Mio inhabitants. The consumer protection center in Linz received 94.600 enquiries and complaints last year, most of them by phone or e-mail. The most important communication channel is our website with more than 2 million visits last The Austrian consumers in the single market

3 3 Most of the enquiries and complaints concern Austrian companies. Only about 3 % refer to single market questions. We try to resolve trans border complaints too, sometimes in cooperation with the European Consumer Centre (ECC) in Vienna or our NEPIM Partners in Belgium, France, Spain, Italy and Germany or our friends of the Financial Services Ombudsman Network in UK and Ireland. Cross border complaints

4 4

5 5 81 % of Austrian households are equipped with an internet access 54 % of persons aged 16 to 74 are internet-shoppers Amazon is the nr. 1 Cross border-shopping in most cases via Internet

6 6 clothing and sports articles flights and other travel arrangements books, e-books and tickets for events The most popular product groups for Internet-shoppers

7 7 Discrimination in access to services Denied Air Passenger Rights Fraud in cross-border commerce Problems in the Single Market

8 8 Austrian consumers are confronted with a refusal to supply or higher prices on the grounds of their nationality or place of residence when attempting to access services at a cross-border level. Such practices are prohibited by the EU Services Directive! Discrimination in access to services and goods

9 9 Consumers are most frequently confronted with price differentiation when trying to purchase. goods such as electronic items, clothes and digital downloads (74 %) tourism and leisure services (21 %) and in car rental services (5 %) Discrimination in access to services and goods

10 10 Example 1 Two families resident in Italy booked a stay in an Italian hotel via an Austrian tour operator. Upon arrival at the hotel, the families were asked to pay an additional fee of 400. When queried, the hotel and tour operator informed the consumers that Italians are obliged to pay an additional fee for a club card enabling them to use the hotels amenities. After intervention by ECC Austria the tour operator refunded the additional fee of 400 Discrimination in access to services and goods

11 11 Example 2 Austrian consumers booked a ferry trip from Venice to Patras with the company Minoan Lines. Due to economic reasons the route was cancelled. Minoan Lines offered a refund of the ticket costs of 800,--. However, the consumers did not receive the promised refund. Due to the intervention of ECC Austria and ECC Greece the consumers were reimbursed Discrimination in access to services and goods

12 12 Denied boarding, flight cancellation, delayed flights Since 2005 passengers have rights of compensation up to 600 (EC Regulation 261/2004) But some airlines deny this right of compensation: Condor, Vueling, Ryan Air, Air Berlin Denied Air Passenger Rights

13 13 no answer from airline refer to extra ordinary circumstances delaying tactics until the claim barred by the statute of limitation Denied Air Passenger Rights

14 14 consumer receive scams involving: purchase of used cars online counterfeit products alleged free trials the sale of tickets online and data phishing Fraud in cross-border commerce

15 15 Many complaints concerning online-tickets consumers must pay the tickets in advance, which should only be delivered a few weeks or days before the concert. De facto, however, a delivery never took place. The companies over which the tickets were bought, also do not respond to requests for reimbursement of affected consumers. There is a suspicion of fraud in these cases, the chances to get the ticket costs refunded is rather low. Consumers only option is the place a complaint at the police. Fraud in cross-border commerce

16 16 Thank you for your attention!

17 Chamber of Labor Upper Austria Volksgartenstraße 40, 4020 Linz Kontakt +43 (0)732 6906- TEL FAX E-MAIL WWW +43 (0)730 6906- 17 Dr. Georg Rathwallner 3112 3880 Consumer Protection

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