Demand by UK consumers for help from the cross-border dispute help and advice service UK European Consumer Centre (UK ECC) has rocketed by 27% so far in 2020.

More UK consumers have been asking for assistance in their disputes with EU traders, boosted by an increase in COVID-19 related disputes. Every month since the easing of lockdown measures has seen a rise in cases.

Andy Allen, UK ECC service director, said: “This unprecedented COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has led to a surge in consumers coming to us for help at a time when the very existence and future of our Centre is under threat. Our figures show that they need our help more than ever.

"I ask that the UK Government works out a solution which retains this valuable service during the negotiations. The service provided by the UK ECC is joint-funded by the UK Government and the European Union; however, the Brexit negotiation phase has created uncertainty about the Centre’s future with funding from the EU likely to be removed at a time when demand for the service is rising. Thousands of UK consumers would be left unprotected without our service.

“Earlier this month (October), the Consumer Minister Paul Scully committed to keeping the UK European Consumer Centre open throughout 2021, but we currently don’t know what form our existence will take. The UK ECC performs a critical role in the UK consumer protection landscape.”

The UK ECC offers free support and assistance to consumers who have bought goods or services in EU countries and Norway and Iceland. Consumers may contact UK ECC through the email address, eccnet-uk@ec.europa.eu

Consumers should contact the UK ECC with any queries by emailing the centre at eccnet-uk@ec.europa.eu