Seniors are an important market segment that the industry and policymakers can no longer ignore. Nonetheless, despite the growing silver economy, restrictions to enjoying basic products and services still exist. AGE is also raising awareness about how the lack of adequate consumer rights can impact the quality of life and individual dignity, in particular among the most vulnerable older people. For example, rising energy prices and deteriorating services are leaving more and more older persons close to the poverty line with the choice between heating and eating, or being cut-off from essential services because they are not able to pay the bills. EU legislation for energy retail markets is aimed at supporting all customers, but in particular those that Member States define as vulnerable customers.
From product safety and mechanisms of protection, to informed decisions on pension plans and transparency of banking services, reinforced consumer rights have a very significant impact on older people's lives. To achieve this goal AGE is engaged in a permanent dialogue with other user groups and the industry within the framework of the Financial Services User Group (FSUG), the EC Dialogue Group on the use of age and disability in financial services as well as informal contact with main stakeholders like the European Consumers' Organisation (BEUC) and the European Insurance Federation (CEA).
- EC Directive on Consumer Rights aiming at achieving a proper business-to-consumer (B2C) internal market, striking the right balance between a high level of consumer protection and the competitiveness of enterprises
- Consumer Markets Scoreboard – main market monitoring instrument for the consumer policy area
- European Commission's Staff Working Document 'An Energy Policy for Consumers'
Objectives and areas for action
This Task Force seeks to guarantee that older people's rights as consumers as prescribed in the EU legal framework and adequately applied at national level, in particular through:
- Monitoring the application of national and EU legislations regarding these rights;
- Raising awareness about obstacles older persons encounter at grass-roots in enjoying their economic and social interests as consumers;
- Mapping of various aspects of vulnerability and measures which can contribute to improving access to and enjoying consumer rights ;
- Helping to inform and empower older people on how to make better decisions as consumers.
Responsible staff member: Maciej Kucharczyk, Maciej.Kucharczyk@age-platform.eu
and Nena Georgantzi, email@example.com