Collective redress to better shield buyers

Photo: EP Geoffroy Didier

First ever EU rules on collective redress are now entering into the final stretch of the endorsement process as the EP Legal Affairs Committee backed on Thursday with wide majority the Parliament's negotiating position on a new bill.

MEPs can soon start negotiating with Council, which also approved its general approach on the dossier, the ultimate outline of the legislation.

The draft rules allow consumer organisations to seek remedy, enforce a high level of protection and to represent the collective interest of consumers.

MEPs ensure that collective action would be authorised against trader violations, in domestic and cross-border cases, in areas such as data protection, financial services, travel and tourism, energy, telecommunications, environment and health.

When the topic was debated at the plenary less than a year before, rapporteur on the draft legislation Geoffroy Didier, French centre-right MEP, gave as example that thanks to the European collective redress action, an air passenger, or a buyer of a car, or a washing machine would be able to bring a case before the courts against any illegal practice of the airline, or the manufactures of the car or the home appliance.

Loser-pays principle would guarantee that the losing party refunds the winning party's legal costs, in order to avoid abusive use of the new instrument and give the necessary legal certainty for businesses. The new measures echo as well the concerns elevated by 'mass harm' scandals with cross-border implications, such as Dieselgate and Ryanair.

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