Help and advice for consumers – for more than 15 years

The European Consumer Centre (ECC) France is the first contact point for all French consumers with cross-border issues and also for foreign consumers living in France. Cancelled flight, undelivered goods, faulty products… In case of difficulties with a trader based in another EU country, Norway, Iceland or the United Kingdom we will help you free of charge if you cannot solve the problem on your own. 

Furthermore, our lawyers are at your disposal to inform you about your consumer rights in general, for example regarding your passenger rights while traveling abroad, your rights while shopping online or in the case of a medical emergency treatment in another EU country.

The ECC France is co-funded by the European Commission and the Ministry of Economy (DGCCRF / General Directorate for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control).

The missions of ECC France

  • Inform and advise consumers on their rights in Europe
  • Settle cross-border consumption-related disputes
  • Encourage conciliation rather than trial
  • Analyse the European market and forward consumers’ requests to the European Commission as well as to national and European authorities
  • Be a contact point for consumers who wish to receive information on services in other countries of the European Union.

Team ECC France

Martine Mérigeau, Executive Director | Bianca Schulz, Director ECC France | Elphège Tignel, Press & Communication officer | Sarah La selva,  Graphic designer | Camille Bertrand, Juriste | Romain Boguet, Legal Advisor | Coline Port, Legal Advisor | Ralph Roggenbuck, Legal Advisor | Léa Jamet, Legal Advisor | Lion-Joed Char, Legal Advisor | Oliver Bähr, Technical Manager

The network of European Consumer Centres in Europe

The European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) was created by the European Commission in 2005. There is one European Consumer Centre in each member state of the European Union as well as in Norway, Iceland and UK. That is 30 ECCs in total. They offer free assistance and advice to consumers. 

The network definitely aims at more trust of the consumers in the internal market: Providing free information and assistance to consumers in cases of cross-border conflicts should create incentives to take advantage of the new opportunities offered by the European market.

The ECC-Net enables all ECCs to collaborate in order to settle disputes between consumers and companies based in other EU countries, Iceland, Norway or UK. Besides this conflict-solving mission, the ECCs of the ECC-Net work together on common projects for consumers (for instance: buying a car in Europe, guarantees & warranties…). Moreover, the ECC-Net forwards any requests of European consumerson potential dysfunctions of the internal market to national and European authorities. To this purpose, position papers on various topics like the rights of air passengers are published.

One address, two countries

Both the ECC France and the ECC Germany provide services in cooperation with the Centre for Consumer Protection in Europe, an association dedicated to Franco-German consumption-related issues since 1993 and located in the urban area of Strasbourg and Kehl.

Elected by the states of Germany and France with the objective of protecting consumers in Europe, this centre based in Kehl is the only “binational structure in the European network” among the European Consumer Centres. Today, the ECCs of France and Germany are the largest consumer centres in Europe and are involved in more than 50% of the resolved disputes within the network.

Network of European partners

The CPC gives wide ranging powers to enforcement bodies in the EU and will enable them to better work together to take coordinated action against traders acting illegally. Systems have been put in place that will allow each of these authorities to call on other members of the network for help in investigations to stop rogue traders. Where the enforcement authorities have a reasonable suspicion of a cross-border infringement or breach, they now have the right: to access relevant documentation and information related to the infringement; to carry out on-site inspections; to request the seller or supplier to cease the infringement; and to require losing defendants to make payments into the public purse or to a designated beneficiary if they fail to comply with the decision. Enforcement bodies will also have the power to take court action if necessary.

The European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters (EJN-civil)  is a flexible, non-bureaucratic structure, which operates in an informal mode and aims at simplifying judicial cooperation between the Member States. It gives unofficial support to the central authorities as stipulated in their instruments, and facilitates relations between different courts.

The creation of the EJN comes from the idea that the gradual establishment of a genuine area of justice in Europe entails the need to improve, simplify and expedite effective judicial cooperation between the Member States in civil and commercial matters. The Network also represents an original and practical response to the objectives for access to justice and judicial cooperation set by the Tampere (Finland) European Council in 1999. The EJN therefore provides valuable access to justice for persons engaged in cross-border litigation.

The activities of the Network are designed with the intention of promoting smooth operating procedures where the impacts cross borders and facilitating requests for judicial cooperation between Member States, in particular when no Community or international instrument is applicable.

In other words, the Network makes it easier to conduct cases with cross-border connections, to facilitate requests for judicial cooperation between Member States (e.g. to provide assistance with the service of documents or the taking of evidence), and to ensure that Community legislation and conventions between Member States are properly applied in practice.

FIN-NET is a financial dispute resolution network of national out-of-court complaint schemes in the European Economic Area countries (the European Union Member States plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) that are responsible for handling disputes between consumers and financial services providers, i.e. banks, insurance companies, investment firms and others. This network was launched by the European Commission in 2001.

Within FIN-NET, the schemes cooperate to provide consumers with easy access to out-of-court complaint procedures in cross-border cases. If a consumer in one country has a dispute with a financial services provider from another country, FIN-NET members will put the consumer in touch with the relevant out-of court complaint scheme and provide the necessary information about it.

Read more on page How to use FIN-NET.

The ECC France cooperates with the FIN-NET network to find amicable resolutions on disputes concerning financial services.

The Solvit network is a body funded by the European Commission to assist citizens to ascertain their EU rights in cases where a dispute has risen between a citizen and an official body of a Member state of the European Union. There is a Solvit centre in every member state (as well as in the EEA Member States Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein).

SOLVIT deals with cross-border problems between a business or a citizen on the one hand and a national public authority on the other, where there is possible misapplication of EU law. The policy areas SOLVIT has mostly dealt with so far are:

  • Recognition of professional qualifications and diplomas
  • Access to education
  • Residence permits
  • Voting rights
  • Social security
  • Employment rights
  • Driving licences
  • Motor vehicle registration
  • Border controls
  • Market access for products
  • Market access for services
  • Establishment as self-employed
  • Public procurement
  • Taxation
  • Free movement of capital or payments

Europe Direct information relaysacts as an interface between EU and its citizens at a local level.  Europe Direct (which took its name from an earlier initiative) was launched in 2005.  Members of the Europe Direct network both offer and promote EU information to the general public in their area, whilst a central enquiry point offers a wide-ranging information service via telephone and e-mail. There is a network of around 500 Europe Directs based locally across the 28 Member States as well as a Europe Direct Contact Centre. You can speak to the Contact Centre by calling a free phone number from anywhere in the European Union or by emailing them.

The Rapid Alert System enables quick exchange of information between 31 European countries and the European Commission about dangerous non-food products posing a risk to health and safety of consumers.

Every day the European Commission receives from national authorities information about dangerous products found and the measures taken. The information may come from producers or distributors who voluntarily organise recalls of the products they found posed a risk to consumers health. A list of dangerous products describing the risk they pose and the measures taken is published every week on the web. Other countries may find the same product in their national markets and add extra information and more measures to prevent the further selling of the dangerous product. All this information is circulated inside the network.