The rapporteur, Samuel Azzopardi, believes that the
EC's proposal is a move in the right direction, but
regrets that rules on the liability of online
marketplaces are missing
With an opinion drawn up by Samuel Azzopardi
(MT/EPP), councillor, Rabat Citta Victoria, Local
Council, Gozo, the European Committee of the
Regions welcomes the publication of the EC's
to lay down a minimum EU-wide framework for
collective redress scheme mechanisms across the
Member States, which could bring a real opportunity
for consumers to obtain redress in cases of mass
damage. The revision and update of existing
consumer rules in response to current challenges
ensures that such rules remain relevant and fit for
purpose. This should, however, only be considered
as a first step in the right direction.
adopted at the plenary session on 10 October, reflects
on the EC's proposal to lay down a minimum EU-wide
framework for collective redress scheme mechanisms,
bringing an opportunity for consumers to obtain redress
in the event of mass damage and thus plugging the
current gap in the enforcement of EU consumer rights.
It also seeks to modernise consumer rights. The
Committee supports the broad scope of the proposal for
making a real impact in areas where mass harm occurs
and covering other practices that are detrimental to
consumers and more largely to the public.
The rapporteur, Samuel Azzopardi,
recommends that collective redress mechanisms be
extended to other cases of mass harm, including cases
of mass environmental damage, harm done to common
goods, and in respect of health and safety regulations
or violations of employment rights, in order to bring
about easier access to justice for all Europeans. He
also draws attention to the fact that consumer
organisations which can be designated as qualified
entities may have limited financial capacities.
Consumer organisations in smaller Member States are
concerned in particular. Lack of financial capacity
should not hinder organisations from being designated
as qualified entities.
"European consumers and citizens need stronger
protection and legal security", said rapporteur
Azzopardi. "I believe that the right of withdrawal is
an important consumer right that should not be weakened
in the absence of any conclusive evidence of misuse".
In this respect, the report points out that the minimum
fine for widespread infringements, amounting to 4% of a
trader's annual turnover, is not adequately dissuasive.
Finally, the report regrets that rules on the liability
of online marketplaces are missing in the EC's
proposal. "Operators of online platforms should be
liable in cases where they fail to inform consumers
that a third party is the actual supplier of goods or
services or where they fail to remove misleading
information disseminated by the supplier, which has
been reported to the operator", said Mr Azzopardi.
Tel. +32 22822471