European Disability Strategy 2021 – 2030(4)

World Consumer Rights Day: Your purchases determine the future

Brussels, 15th March 2021

Today is World Consumer Rights Day! And it is also just about the yearly anniversary of the day when our usual consumption brutally came to a halt as shops all around Europe were forced to close due to unprecedented lockdown measures. A year’s reflection to think about key questions linked to consumption like: What are my real needs? What is essential for my family?

On this occasion COFACE Families Europe wants to empower each citizen to reflect on their consumption behaviours and to education oneself about their rights and to protest against potential market abuses and social injustices that undermine those rights. It is important to remember that the future ahead will be the future determined by our purchases, a motto which is the center of the new educational campaign ‘Your future. Your choice.’ unveiled by the European Commission today.

The European Union has strived, over the years, to create a safe environment for consumers to shop, and although there can always be new legislative measures to improve consumer safety, it is equally important for consumers to take advantage of their existing rights. To this end, COFACE Families Europe participates in the campaign and invites you all, as citizens, families, workers, consumers to spread the word by sharing the campaign videos in your language to help empower consumers to protect their rights and make the right decisions in many different situations.

The pandemic also shed light on the importance of digitalisation and caused huge transitions from offline to online activities: telework, online shopping, online social gatherings, even virtual family reunions, dinners and celebrations. But it’s not all bees and butterflies. Spending more time online, whether for shopping or social activities, comes with many risks, and consumers are often ill equipped to navigate through all the scams and problems they may encounter. This is why existing legislation must be known and enforced.

With less opportunity to go shopping, another important question consumers pondered was whether their consumption patterns were sustainable. Consumers are often lost when it comes to making responsible choices for the environment. It can be difficult to find good and transparent information about a product, where all the parts are produced, where the raw materials come from, sometimes even leading to feeling that ones’ very existence is detrimental for the planet!

These and various other situations makes it more important than ever to educate consumers. The campaign’s four videos, created in partnership with youth and consumer organisations, help to achieve the change we need in our key consumption issues: knowing your rights as a consumer, safely navigating the Internet, consuming more responsibly for the environment and managing your finances better to avoid falling into over-indebtedness.

Use and spread the videos which are available in 25 languages for downloading here together with consumer tips: https://ec.europa.eu/info/consumer-resources

Watch the videos on En and FR here: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9wxOCin4v8mIKbG2OPbYzAJ6TD6anKTV

For more information about the campaign, please contact Isabell Wutz: iwutz@coface-eu.org

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