How we work
What does the ECC do?
The ECC helps by mediating between consumers and entrepreneurs in cross-border disputes. The ECC has an independent role in this respect, and highlights its legal position to both the consumer and the entrepreneur. The purpose of mediation is finding a solution that is reasonable and acceptable to both parties.
How can the ECC help me?
ECC Netherlands can assist you if you live in the Netherlands and have a conflict with a foreign entrepreneur. This entrepreneur must be established in an EU country, Norway, Iceland or the United Kingdom.
Example of a conflict
You live in the Netherlands and make an online purchase from a foreign seller. The product is delivered and turns out to be defective. You ask the seller to replace the product or to process a refund of the purchase price. But the seller refuses to accept your request. That’s when you can ask the ECC for assistance.
When is the ECC unable to assist me?
The ECC provides legal assistance to consumers in the EU in the event of a cross-border conflict. Entrepreneurs and companies are not entitled to the ECC’s assistance. The ECC is not authorised to mediate in the following situations:
- conflict between two private individuals;
- conflict between two entrepreneurs;
- conflict between a consumer and an entrepreneur in the same country;
- conflict with an entrepreneur outside the EU (Switzerland, Turkey, China, etc.);
- if you've already started legal proceedings;
- cases of fraud and embezzlement;
- cases of investment conflicts.
Are you not a Dutch resident?
Do you not live in the Netherlands, but for example in Germany or Belgium? And do you have a question/complaint about a Dutch entrepreneur? The ECC in the Netherlands is not able to help you if you are not a Dutch resident. You can ask the ECC office in your country of residence for assistance. Please find the contact details of all ECC offices on this map of Europe.
What is the ECC’s working method?
Do you live in the Netherlands and do you have a dispute with a foreign entrepreneur? Would you like our help? Then submit a complaint about this entrepreneur to the ECC online using this complaint form. Do you have a legal issue? Then complete the contact form.
Upon receipt of your complaint or question, we will send you a confirmation email with an explanation of the ECC’s working method and a personal case ticket number. Please keep this email carefully! You will need the details if you contact us with a question about your case.
How your complaint is assessed
If you have submitted a complaint, one of our legal specialists will assess your complaint. We always aim to contact you within 7 working days after receipt of your complaint to inform you about the next steps. There are three options:
- We accept your complaint for processing;
- We request you to provide supplementary information to assess your complaint;
- We are unable to process your complaint. In the latter case, we will inform you of your alternatives.
If we process your complaint, we will forward the complaint to the ECC office in the entrepreneur’s country. Our colleague in the relevant country will assess your complaint based on their domestic rules and regulations. If possible within the legal context, the mediation procedure is started. Subsequently, the ECC mediates between you and the entrepreneur to ensure you can exercise your rights. The entrepreneur’s cooperation is required for successful cooperation. Our legal aid is free of charge.
How long will it take to process my complaint?
Complaints are processed in the order of receipt. We always aim to contact you within 7 working days after receipt of your complaint to inform you about the next steps. The processing time of the mediation procedure depends on several factors, such as the entrepreneur’s cooperation.
Updates to your complaint
Upon receipt of an update from the entrepreneur, we will inform you accordingly. The attorney who is processing your complaint will contact you by telephone or email. Does the entrepreneur contact you directly during the mediation process? Please inform us accordingly. This prevents our legal specialists from doing unnecessary work in your case.
What happens if the ECC’s mediation is unsuccessful?
ECC has a high success rate in mediating. If the entrepreneur is unwilling to cooperate or does not agree with your complaint, we need to end the mediation process. The ECC is not authorised for enforcement. Often you still have the option to take your case to court. We will inform you of your legal options.
What are the costs of mediation by the ECC?
The ECC operates on a not-for-profit basis. Legal aid from ECC is free for consumers.
What does the ECC do with my private data?
The ECC treats your privacy with care and complies with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR, AVG). We exclusively use your private data for answering your question or resolving your complaint. Read more about it on our privacy statement.
What is the ECC-Net?
The ECC-Net is a European network with offices in 27 EU Member States, Norway, Iceland and the United Kingdom. The European Consumer Centre (ECC) in the Netherlands is one of the offices in this European network.
What is the organisational structure of the ECC?
What is the ECC’s mission?
The mission of the ECC-Net is to increase consumer confidence in the EU so that consumers can take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the European single market.
The ECC-Net enhances consumer confidence by helping consumers in the EU in cross-border disputes. More than 300 specialised legal specialists offer consumers free legal assistance. The network blurs borders, removes language barriers and offers the same protection in 30 countries as if a consumer has a conflict with an entrepreneur in his/her home country. The ECC-Net operates on a not-for-profit basis.
The ECC-Net defends the interests of consumers by identifying problems at an early stage and proactively informing consumer authorities and European stakeholders. The purpose: to improve European and national regulations and policy-making.
What is the ECC’s history?
In 2005, the European Commission and EU member states decided that there should be a network that makes it easier for consumers to exercise their rights in the EU, Norway, Iceland and the United Kingdom, increasing consumer confidence in the EU and removing language barriers. The ECC-Net was established. A unique and independent network, with more than 300 legal specialists, where consumers in 30 countries receive free legal assistance in their own language.
Since the establishment of the ECC-Network in 2005, the European Commission and national authorities have been working together to help consumers. The ECC in the Netherlands receives financial support from the Ministry of Justice and Security and the European Commission.
Not for profit
We are proud to be part of a European network that blurs borders and offers consumers in 30 countries the same protection as if they had a conflict with an entrepreneur in their home country. On a not-for-profit basis.
In which countries does the ECC have offices?
The ECC-Net consists of 30 ECC offices located in the following countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, and United Kingdom.
Complaint or compliment about the ECC
I have a complaint about the ECC
ECC’s legal specialists always aim to help you to the best of their ability. If you are dissatisfied with the service, you can lodge an official complaint with us. The ECC sees complaints as an opportunity to improve the quality of service, so that we can help you and other consumers even better in the future.
You can report your complaint by telephone on +31 (0)30 - 232 64 40 or in writing. Would you rather write to us? Then fill in the complaints form in and send it to:
European Consumer Centre
FAO Director ECC
PO Box 487
3500 AL Utrecht
I have a compliment about the ECC
Are you satisfied with our service, would you like to thank an employee or do you have any tips and suggestions? We would be pleased to hear that! Please let us know so that we can fine-tune our working method even better to your wishes. Please send an email with your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org