Banking, telecom and energy services scored particularly low in the 2012 EU Consumer Scoreboard

The European Commission published the results of the Commission’s 2012 Consumer Markets Scoreboard which warn that EU consumers have once again expressed their dissatisfaction with the performance of some key services markets, such as banking, telecom and energy services.

The 2012 Consumer Markets Scoreboard which is an annual report that ranks the performance of 51 consumer markets based on consumers’ trust in business, comparability of offers, overall satisfaction and the incidence of complaints and problems, was published by the European Commission. Among the key findings, the Scoreboard highlights that markets for investment products, mortgages and real estate services stay at rock bottom for the third year in a row. Another Scoreboard published in March 2011, showed that consumer conditions are recovering but cross-border e-commerce remains backward.

The Scoreboard stressed that banking services remain the worst performing group of markets from a consumer perspective. Also, telecom markets score low as well. Energy markets have particularly poor scores on choice, comparability and switching suppliers and tariffs, suggesting that consumers are not in a position to make full use of the opportunities created by market liberalisation. In addition, the Scoreboard stressed that the market for second-hand cars ranks at the bottom of goods markets for the third consecutive year, with the lowest scores on trust, comparability and highest incidence of problems. The largest decrease in scores were registered by postal services and public transport. In addition, the market for vehicle fuels has seen significant deterioration in its score for a second year in a row.

In the light of these results, the Commission will launch two in-depth studies. The first study will focus on the market of second-hand cars. The second study will analyse the issue of consumer vulnerability, to develop a methodology for studying the mechanisms of vulnerability across different consumer markets and identifying effective policy responses. This also responds to the recent call from the European Parliament to strengthen the right of vulnerable consumers.