General Information

Consumer Protection Cooperation

The Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) is a network of public authorities responsible for enforcing consumer laws. It tackles (within the EU) cross-border infringements  of certain consumer protection laws which harm, or are likely to harm, the collective interests of consumers. These authorities (the BWB is one of six in Austria) are supposed to communicate with each other and provide mutual assistance (enforcement requests, requests for information, warnings).

NOTE: These procedures do not include the enforcement of claims of individual consumers.

Upon request, the BWB takes all enforcement measures necessary to effect the immediate cessation or prohibition of the infringement committed within the EU and to supply all the relevant information that is required to establish whether an intra-Community infringement has occurred or whether there is a reasonable suspicion it may occur. The BWB may also make enforcement requests or requests for information to consumer protection authorities in other EU Member States.

A single liaison body responsible for forwarding all requests coming from and to other EU Member States has been established within the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection.

The liaison body cooperates and coordinates solely within the official network. Aggrieved consumers may not enforce their claims with the help of the liaison body.

If there is a suspicion of an intra-Community infringement committed by a company, the BWB may submit to the Civil Court a request for cessation. Furthermore, the BWB may effect a declaration of discontinuance secured by an appropriate penalty.

In exercising these powers as well as its other tasks in the fields of competition and antitrust law, the BWB is independent and not bound to orders from the Austrian single liaison body established within the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection as well as from consumer protection organisations such as the Association for Consumer Information.

The BWB is a member of the advisory board assisting in the exchange of experience in implementing Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 on consumer protection cooperation. The advisory board was established within the single liaison body. Every other year, the BWB reports to the advisory board about its experience in implementing the above-mentioned regulation. A comprehensive report is submitted to the European Commission as well as the European Parliament.