The Catalan Consumer Agency (ACC), which reports to the Ministry of Business and Knowledge, has become an EU-accredited body for resolving cross-border consumer complaints. The director of the ACC, Beth Abad, has travelled to Guimarães (Portugal) within the framework of the Agency’s first contacts as an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) body and a collaborator with the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) in the resolution of cross-border complaints through consumer mediation and arbitration.
As a full member of the European network, the ACC will become an international reference point, for companies and agencies as well as consumers, in the resolution of consumer disputes through mediation and/or arbitration. The Agency’s new status will improve its ability to act as an interlocutor and collaborate with other European and international bodies involved in managing consumer dispute resolution systems.
In this context of cooperation between consumer bodies, the ACC director met on Thursday with her Portuguese counterpart, Director-General for Consumer Affairs Ana Catarina Fonseca, in the first meeting that the Catalan representatives have attended as members of the network. Abad said that during the meeting they discussed legislation adopted recently in Portugal that involves a highly developed approach to consumer arbitration. “Our goal is to find ways to promote initiatives that bring comparable solutions to Catalonia,” she said.
Abad also participated in a working meeting with representatives of the Portuguese and Estonian governments and members of the European network of ADR bodies with the aim of sharing information about their respective alternative systems for consumer dispute resolution.
Since it was established, the ACC has had the power to resolve consumer complaints through mediation between the consumer and the company concerned or through arbitration. EU accreditation means the Agency can now apply this consumer dispute resolution system to cross-border complaints.