TALLINN - The Consumer Protection Board has opened a special EU consumer-counseling center to protect the rights of those who make purchases or use services in European Union member states.
Consumers who have questions or problems concerning purchases made in other EU member states, including purchases made through the Internet or mail order, can now turn to the center for advice.
"The large choice available in the common market and ever widening travel opportunities invite consumers to make more and more cross-border purchases," director general of the board Helle Aruniit said.
The center will also help consumers from other member states of the EU who experience problems with goods or services purchased in this country. "At the same time solving problems is not the center's sole purpose, it's equally meant to give advice before purchase," Kristina Vaksmaa, head of the center, told the Baltic News Service.
The center has been working since Jan. 1 and in the first four months of its existence 14 complaints have been solved or are being processed.
Vaksmaa said the center, which has a staff of three, has a budget of more than 900,000 kroons (57,500 euros) in 2005.
"The activity of the consumer center is in the first two years financed 30 percent by the Consumer Protection Board and 70 percent by the European Commission," she said. "Starting from the third year of work, the expenses will be shared equally."
The center's services are free to consumers.
Centers working on the same principles have been or are about to be established in all other EU member states, forming a cooperation network European Consumer Center Net whose work is coordinated by the European Commission.