In recent decades, there have been significant developments in the European Union in the field of collective consumer redress. South East European countries (SEE) covered by this paper, in line with their EU accession priorities and duties under Stabilisation and Association Agreements, have to harmonize their national laws with the relevant EU acquis for consumer protection (Chapter 28: Health and Consumer). In these countries, only minimal compliance is achieved. SEE countries have introduced rudimentary collective redress mechanisms, with modest enforcement of collective redress and case law. This paper is based on comprehensive interdisciplinary research conducted for SEE countries on common principles for injunctive and compensatory collective redress mechanisms, emphasizing cross-national comparisons, underlining issues of commonality and difference aiming to develop recommendations for an adequate enforcement of collective redress. SEE countries are recognized by the sectoral approach for regulating collective redress contrary to the majority of EU Member States with having adopted horizontal approach to collective redress. In most SEE countries, the laws do not recognize compensatory but only injunctive collective redress in consumer protection. All responsible stakeholders for implementation of collective redress in SEE countries, lack information and awareness on collective redress mechanisms and the way they function in practice. Therefore, specific actions are needed in these countries to make the whole system of collective redress for consumer protection operational and efficient. Taking into consideration the various designated stakeholders in collective redress in each SEE countries, there is a need of their mutual coordination and cooperation in order to develop consumer protection system and policies. By putting into practice the national collective redress mechanisms, effective access to justice for all consumers, the principle of rule of law will be secured and appropriate procedural guarantees to avoid abusive litigation will be ensured.
The EU Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 under which air passengers can claim compensation in the event of denied boarding, cancellation or long delay of flights has to be regarded as a substantial progress for the consumer protection in the field of air transport since it went into force in February 2005. Nevertheless, different reviews of its effective functioning demonstrate that most passengers affected by service disruptions do not enforce their complaints and claims towards the airline. The main cause of this is not only the unclear legal situation due to the fact that the regulation itself suffers from many undetermined terms and loopholes it is also attributable to the strategy of the airlines which do not handle the complaints of the passengers or exclude their duty to compensate them. Economically contemplated, reasons like the long duration of a trial and the cost risk in relation to the amount of compensation make it comprehensible that passengers are deterred from enforcing their rights by filing a lawsuit. The paper focusses on the alternative dispute resolution namely the recently established conciliation bodies which deal with air passenger rights. In this paper, the Conciliation Body for Public Transport in Germany (Schlichtungsstelle für den öffentlichen Personenverkehr – SÖP) is examined as a successful example of independent consumer arbitration service. It was founded in 2009 and deals with complaints in the field of air passenger rights since November 2013. According to the current situation one has to admit that due to its structure and operation it meets on the one hand the needs of the airlines by giving them an efficient tool of their customer relation management and on the other hand that it contributes to the enforcement of air passenger rights effectively.
The enthusiasm for gluten avoidance in a growing market is met by improvements in sensitive detection methods for analysing gluten content. Paradoxically, manufacturers employ no such systems in the production process but continue to market their product as gluten free, a significant risk posed to an undetermined coeliac population. This paper resonates with an immunological response that causes gastrointestinal scarring and villous atrophy with the conventional description of personal injury. This thesis divulges into evaluating potential inadequacies of gluten labelling laws which not only present a diagnostic challenge for general practitioners in the UK but it also exposes a less than adequate form of available legal protection to those who suffer adverse reactions as a result of gluten digestion. Central to this discussion is whether a claim brought in misrepresentation, negligence and/or under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 could be sustained. An interesting comparison is then made with the legal regimes of neighboring jurisdictions furthering the theme of a legally un-catered for gluten kingdom.
In Thailand, both the 1997 and the current 2007 Thai Constitutions have mentioned the establishment of independent organizations as a new mechanism to play a key role in proposing policy recommendations to national decision-makers in the interest of collective consumers. Over the last ten years, no independent organizations have yet been set up. Evidently, nobody could point out who should be key players in establishing provincial independent consumer bodies. The purpose of this study was to find definitive stakeholders in establishing and developing independent consumer bodies in a Thai context. This was a cross-sectional study between August and September 2007, using a postal questionnaire with telephone follow-up. The questionnaire was designed and used to obtain multiple stakeholder assessment of three key attributes (power, interest and influence). Study population was 153 stakeholders associated with policy decision-making, formulation and implementation processes of civil-based consumer protection in pilot provinces. The population covered key representatives from five sectors (academics, government officers, business traders, mass media and consumer networks) who participated in the deliberative forums at 10 provinces. A 49.7% response rate was achieved. Data were analyzed, comparing means of three stakeholder attributes and classification of stakeholder typology. The results showed that the provincial health officers were the definitive stakeholders as they had legal power, influence and interest in establishing and sustaining the independent consumer bodies. However, only a few key representatives of the provincial health officers expressed their own paradigm on the civil-based consumer protection. Most provincial health officers put their own standpoint of building civic participation at only a plan-implementation level. For effective policy implementation by the independent consumer bodies, the Thai government should provide budgetary support for the operation of the provincial health officers with their paradigm shift as well as their own clarified standpoint on corporate governance.