Anyone surfing the internet leaves behind valuable traces for the digital economy. The latter has a great interest in skimming off data as unnoticed as possible - and being able to use it. The original aim of a 2017 draft Regulation of the Commission was to protect users’ privacy. However, discussions in the Council point in another direction. The latest AK Position Paper summarizes the state of play.
Safeguarding a high level of consumer protection and developing sectoral data privacy laws in Europe is one of the major concerns of the Austrian Chamber of Labour. Therefore, we place special emphasis on ensuring that the needs of telecom and internet users, especially regarding their adequately strict protection of privacy and personal data, receive appropriate attention within the e-privacy Regulation.
Scandals like the Dieselgate and Cambridge Analytica have made it clear that until today the enforcement of consumer rights in Europe is still inadequate. In most of the EU member states, Austria amongst, many deficiencies exist regarding the enforcement of representative action claims against foreign companys as well as regarding minor damages.
The bankruptcy of the travel agency Thomas Cook on 23rd September 2019 left more than 600,000 travellers stranded at their holiday destinations and put 22,000 jobs at risk worldwide. Due to these dimensions, the European Parliament on 24th October 2019 adopted a resolution on the negative effects of Thomas Cook bankruptcy on European tourism and set out measures to improve the protection of travellers with a clear majority.
What issues and challenges will European consumer protection face in the coming legislative period? This question was addressed by a high-level event of the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC), which took place on 6th November 2019 at the Norway House in Brussels.
In order to be able to use renewable energies to improve the use of renewable energy generation, which is associated with stronger fluctuations, the European Commission intends to channel demand more effectively by means of flexible electricity tariffs. From the Chamber of Labour’s point of view, these tariff models hide the danger of a “two-tier energy society”.
For years, representatives of the new Member States have been complaining that some of the products available in Eastern Europe contain lower-quality ingredients that those, which are sold under the same name in Western Europe. A comprehensive investigation by the Commission has now confirmed the existence of different recipes in the Member States, but no general discrimination of certain European countries.
Competition policy is an important part of economic policy. In an economic system based on a market economy, competition policy has to determine the conditions for a competitive framework which ensure that competition between economic players functions and anti-competitive behaviour is stopped and penalised.
The CCD raised the overall level of consumer credit protection because key areas such as contract information were specifically covered by law for the first time. However, in order to place more importance on the effectiveness of consumer protection in practice, its provisions must be tightened up in some areas or additional rules introduced, for example regarding its scope and credit advertising.
The mobile phone battery is the scourge of the modern world. Its short lifespan makes us desperately look for the charger when it is running out of juice. And it almost drives us up the wall when we can’t find the correct plug. This is particularly annoying for iPhone users: their devices can only be charged with Apple charger plugs. One wonders why?