Milestone for consumer protection
Class action lawsuits
Today, the European Parliament endorsed the outcome of trilogue negotiations on the Directive on 'Representative actions to protect the collective interests of consumers. Consumer organisations and independent public bodies will be able to bring claims in the name of consumers in courts in order to stop infringements and even to demand compensation, in what is known as 'collective redress'.
Heidi Hautala MEP, Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur on the file in the Legal Affairs Committee, comments:
"This is a milestone for European consumer protection and an example of the power and influence of the EU law. EU-wide class action will give consumers better means to combat adverse commercial practices. This is a tool for the EU and the member states to improve consumer protection. Consumer organisations and independent public bodies will be able to bring actions to the courts, particularly when the financial sums involved are relatively small and would otherwise put off individual legal actions.
"This legislation is essential; VW and others cheated with their vehicle emissions and there was a clear need for consumers to be able to get together and bring a collective action. Consumers will finally be able to defend themselves against unfair commercial practices on a better footing. This is just the beginning, in the future with the help of collective actions it should be possible to help the victims of forced labour and human trafficking to demand their compensation for the breach of their human rights".