In their everyday lives consumers face a great range of challenges: products break down much earlier than expected, services do not live up to the promises of advertisements and there are disputes between consumers and companies about contract fulfillment. In these cases it is of great importance that consumers are aware of their rights and know where to seek professional advice.
Within the context of an empirical study, ConPolicy investigated for the Consumer Ministry of NRW how well consumers are informed about their rights, whether they would seek professional advice, which experiences they have gathered so far with seeking advice and which obstacles exist in obtaining advice. Furthermore, the study analyzed whether particular consumer groups face distinct challenges in accessing their rights and what could and should be done about it.
To answer these questions ConPolicy conducted an NRW-representative consumer survey and a focus group research. The key results are summarized in four theses:
Consumer education and information about consumer rights should be expanded.
To ensure access to rights for all consumer groups, a state subsidized, low-cost and independent consumer advice system is necessary.
- General information about advice services and the relevant institutions should be improved.
- The advice services of the German Consumer Advice Centers should be further developed and be made more attractive.
Link to the study.