About the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband – vzbv)
The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband – vzbv) is the strong voice of all consumers in Germany – independent of their origin or living conditions. vzbv is advocating for a just and sustainable society and economy, where policy-making focuses on people’s needs. vzbv works on five levels:
Representing consumers’ interests
vzbv provides position papers and expert reports to ensure consumers’ interests are taken into account in legislative processes and socio-political debates. In consultation with decision-makers, vzbv shines a light on consumer-related problems by drawing on the findings from its market monitoring. Its experts are happy to assist the media and policy-makers with their enquiries.
Promoting information and advice for consumers
In coordination with its members, vzbv helps to ensure that the quality of advice is consistent across Germany by offering a range of trainings for advisers. Working in tandem with consumer associations, it also creates uniform advice guidelines so that consumers in every federal state can always receive up-to-date, consistent advice.
Observing the markets
As part of its market monitoring, vzbv analyses conspicuous reports relating to consumer problems from the digital, energy and financial sectors. It carries out investigations and studies, uncovering current problems and structural market failures. If vzbv identifies anomalies or breaches, it reports them to the supervisory authorities, talks to traders and providers or takes legal action against them. In addition, vzbv warns consumers about problematic products and services.
Every year, vzbv launches around 300 legal proceedings to ensure that breaches of consumer rights are remedied or claims for damages are determined. Legal warnings and complaints are based on cases that are reported to vzbv directly, are revealed through investigations or are identified as part of vzbv’s market monitoring. All the cases pursued by vzbv and the consumer associations, along with many other pieces of case law relating to consumer protection, can be found in the case law database.
Improving consumer education
vzbv is committed to ensuring that children and young people learn how to deal with the sheer amount of consumer options in their day-to-day lives and how to protect themselves – and this should start when they are at school. With its service on verbraucherbildung.de, vzbv helps teachers and schools to anchor consumer education in everyday school life on a long-term basis.