Consumer protection: Strengthen consumer rights
The DP is committed to strong consumer protection. The consumer should be as well informed as possible before making a purchase decision, also in terms of sustainability. Especially in the areas of general product safety (household appliances, toys, food…) we want to tighten controls and increase transparency in service offers (consumer credits, travel contracts, rental contracts…). We want to expand the tasks and areas of responsibility of the Ministry of Consumer Protection accordingly and strengthen transnational cooperation in the interest of consumer protection.
New technological developments, such as artificial intelligence, pose new challenges for consumer protection. As DPs, we will face these at both European and national level.
In the last legislative period, a number of measures were already taken for stronger consumer protection. These include, among others, the transposition of the EU directives on the introduction of a legal guarantee of conformity for digital content and services, the transposition of the Omnibus Directive, which provides, among other things, for increased sanction possibilities and mandatory indication of a reference price in the case of price reductions, as well as the introduction of the “Chèques-cadeaux” charter.
Food safety and the fight against food fraud are among the top priorities of neutral consumer protection. The Veterinary and Food Administration ALVA, established in 2022, brings together a large part of the control bodies of the food chain in a single authority. In order to increase efficiency, other departments such as the laboratories are also to be centralised.
Products in general, but especially toys and electrical appliances from third countries, need increasingly strict control (among other things, compliance with the CE standard). The ILNAS (Institut luxembourgeois de la normalisation, de l’accréditation, de la sécurité et qualité des produits et services) is to be strengthened and monitoring campaigns are to improve consumer rights.
An “Observatoire de la consommation” is to provide more clarity and transparency through the evaluation of anonymised consumer data (in the food sector, among others). Based on this, greater coherence should be created between the actual expectations of consumers and the contingencies of entrepreneurs. DP is thus committed to promoting sustainable consumption.
In order to reduce the production costs of goods (e.g. food) at the same resale price, producers have increasingly reduced the quantities of goods in the same packaging in the past. Together with the consumer centres, the DP wants to analyse which countermeasures can be taken to avoid such practices both nationally and at the European level.
The European Commission has this year adopted a proposal for common rules to promote the repair of goods. This should lead to savings for consumers, and support the goals of the European Green Deal by, among other things, reducing waste. DP will promote all initiatives that support the shelf life of goods. The goal is to counteract the throwaway society with simple repairs.
We therefore also want to examine the extent to which a financial incentive makes sense for repairs on a national basis. The cost of a repair is reduced by a repair bonus granted by the public authorities. With this instrument, we will create real repair incentives, promote local and regional enterprises and act in the spirit of a sustainable and resource-conserving circular economy.
The new rules of the EU Directive on representative actions to protect the collective interests of consumers must be applied from 25 June 2023. The DP advocates that in future consumers should be able to get their rights more easily through class actions. Class actions are to be pushed and made easier, with a special focus on mediation to facilitate amicable settlements.
We want to simplify the enforcement of consumer rights, e.g. through smart contracts that, among other things, provide for automatic compensation of consumers in case of late deliveries. Based on blockchain technology, this strengthens the rights of customers.
The European Commission has proposed the introduction of a withdrawal button for distance contracts. This should prevent so-called “dark patterns” and make revocation as simple as the conclusion of a contract. Consumers should also be able to make use of their 14-day right of withdrawal more easily when shopping on-line. The DP will follow the European guidelines and promote the introduction of the electronic cancellation button. In addition, once a contract has been terminated via this button, a confirmation of receipt is to be sent to the customer immediately in order to avoid providers being able to retain customers longer than necessary.
In general, DP wants to analyse to what extent shortened notice periods are feasible for tacit contract extensions.
Complaints about holiday travel have increased in recent years (e.g. flight cancellations and delays). Passengers should be able to assert their claims for compensation in any case. We want to continue to stand up for passengers’ rights, and to advocate for an efficient handling of dossiers in complaint cases.
The DP will support consumer protection organisations (e.g. the ULC and the CEC) in the spirit of modern consumer protection.
For the DP, it is important to better inform the consumer, e.g. on the topic of over-indebtedness. This also involves teaching children and young people economic awareness: for example, in areas such as finance, sustainable consumption or consumer law.