The Union has based its consumer policy on the protection of the five Fundamental Rights, which are central in the member states’ policy. These are:
1. Protection of the health and safety of the consumer:
Only products which entail no danger for health and safety regulations must be established, that complete information must be provided regarding potential dangers and that the consumer must be protected against physical injury.
2. Protection of the customer’s economic interests:
There is, for instance, a general ban on misleading advertising and dishonest provisions in contracts with consumers.
3. The consumer’s right to information and education:
It must be made possible for the consumer to make a choice, based on clear information, from among the products and services offered. This implies objective information regarding the characteristics and price of the available products. The consumer must also be reliably informed regarding the efficient and safe use of these products.
4. The right to compensation for damage:
The consumer has the right to advice and assistance when seeking compensation for faulty products or for injury or damage resulting from the use of goods and services. He must be able to make use of simple, affordable and speedy procedures, in order to settle complaints and claims. (Refer to the new product Liability Legislation.)
5. Consumer representation and involvement:
Consumer representatives must be able to make their voice heard regarding decision-making procedures on’ matters which concern them, at the local, national and EU level.
As far as the Union level is concerned, this not only applies to specific consumer issues but also to other relevant policy fields, such as legislation on foodstuffs/ provisions, transport, competition policy, financial services, the environment and other matters.