In 2020 the Ombudsman for Trade’s office received 2,114 complaints concerning issues related to the delivery of goods ordered online. This is 78% up on the number of such complaints it received during 2019. While an increase in online sales and issues related to the coronavirus pandemic served to push up complaints, a campaign mounted by the Ombudsman’s office making people aware of their statutory rights also made people more prepared to lodge a complaint.
The Chair of the Monitoring Committee of the Ombudsman for Trade Steven Voet told VRT News that “In 2020 consumers were forced to shop more online. This overwhelmed traders and delivery companies. The number of cases successfully concluded rose, while the average time it took to deal with a case fell. This shows that more and more the Ombudsman is seen as being a suitable forum to resolve disputes both for consumers and traders”.
64% of complaints were about products bought from web shops. Last year for the first time almost half the complaints were about delivery issues. The lion’s share of these were about late or incomplete deliveries or about the substitution of a particular food product without prior agreement.
Complaints about the application of a product guarantee accounted for 21% of the total, while issues regarding prices, tariffs, and special offers accounted for 19% of the complaints received by the Ombudsman’s office.