Europe takes action to protect "vulnerable" consumers - 2012-05-22
Labour MEPs voted today to protect elderly, disabled and very young consumers against rip off suppliers playing on their vulnerability.
"It's very easy for any of us to click through and buy something by mistake, but some internet sites make it far too easy for easy for vulnerable consumers to end up buying products because they were hooked in by clever advertising," said Labour's Catherine Stihler.
After today's vote in the plenary session of the European Parliament meeting in Strasbourg, MEPs hope that the European Commission will bring forward policies next year introducing the concept of the "vulnerable consumer" into the different EU legislative and policy instruments designed for consumer protection.
"Young people and children need stricter rules on aggressive or misleading internet TV advertising and online advertising. As the world of the internet and television is international, these restrictions have to be agreed at an international level," added Catherine Stihler, an MEP who representsScotlandis a member of the European Parliament's Consumer Protection Committee.
"All of us will be elderly consumers one day. As newer marketing technologies become more widely used, people need protection.
"There's a load of areas where vulnerable consumers need proper protection. Regulation of online financial markets products is particularly important.
"Passengers with mobility problems need to be able to easily find out any problems before they buy tickets, and energy companies and telecoms companies need to be particularly careful when dealing with the elderly.
"We need more consumer information and education campaigns that target the right messages to the right consumer in all the member states of the EU," concluded Catherine Stihler.
Note for Editors
The "rapporteur" for the report "A strategy for strengthening the rights of vulnerable consumers" - which came out of the European Parliament's Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee to today's plenary session - was the Spanish Socialist Maria Irigoyen Pérez MEP
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