Greeks not consumer savvy

While Greeks tend to be among the most suspicious consumers when placing purchase orders abroad, they are also among the least aware of their rights, according to European Commissioner for Consumer Protection Meglena Kuneva. Replying to a question from Greek Euro-MP Costis Hatzidakis, Kuneva said Greece ranked 18th among the 25 members of the Union (excluding newcomers Bulgaria and Romania) in the number of consumer complaints filed with the Network of European Consumer Centers in the first quarter of 2007. Austria, France, Spain and Luxembourg topped the list of number of complaints, each with more than 100, while Greeks submitted only 13. The three Baltic states and Cyprus filed the least number. It is worth noting that the majority of citizens of Luxembourg, Austria, Denmark and Sweden make cross-border purchases, while the EU-25 average is 26 percent. According to the latest Eurobarometer survey, only 7 percent of Greeks said they had made cross-border purchases. Kuneva pointed out that most complaints handled by the European Consumer Centers concerned rights of air travelers and buyers of Internet services, audiovisual equipment and cars. Hatzidakis said it appeared that the low rate of Internet use for making purchases was due to citizens not being well informed, particularly regarding their rights in the EU and the possibilities afforded by the World Wide Web.

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