Settlement of consumer disputes in and out of court Settlement of consumer disputes in and out of court

  • Access to special non-judicial procedures for alternative dispute resolution for consumer disputes;
  • Individual lawsuits for compensation for damages to users;
  • Collective claims to stop violations of the legislation on consumer protection;
  • Collective claims for compensation for damage to the collective interests of consumers and for compensation for damage to a user group.

Conciliation commissions

The Law on Consumer Protection establishes conciliation commissions to the regional directorates of the Commission for Consumer Protection. Conciliation commissions are designed to help in resolving disputes between consumers and merchants in connection with the warranty liability, the right to return of goods or services and unfair terms in contracts, business practices and contracts concluded by consumers. Conciliation commissions promote amicable settlement of disputes between consumers and merchants by means of agreement between the parties involved.

Any conciliation commission has three members, including a representative of the Commission for Consumer Protection, who is the Chairman of the Commission, one representative of a non-governmental organization representing the interests of merchants and manufacturers, and a representative of a consumer association.

In case of a dispute, consumers can turn to the Conciliation Commission for cooperation in resolving the dispute by submitting an application to the Chairman of the Commission for Consumer Protection, who sets a date for a conciliation meeting. The conciliation proceedings are free for the consumer.

Bodies for out of court settlement of consumer disputes in the European Union

Protection of the collective interests of consumers

When consumers' interests have been violated by the use of unfair trade practices, unfair terms in contracts concluded with consumers or as a result of violation of the legislation on consumer protection by traders, consumers can contact the Commission for Consumer Protection or associations for consumer protection regarding claims for cessation or prohibition of violations.

Consumer associations that assist users in resolving consumer disputes:

Help for the Consumers Association
Help for the Consumers Association was established in 2003. It performs the following activities:

  • advises and consults consumers of their rights and how to defend themselves when buying substandard or dangerous to life and health goods or services.
  • informs consumers about the requirements to be met by the goods and services that businesses marketed.
  • files complaints on behalf of consumers, and also signals to the competent control authorities when their rights are violated.
  • assists consumers in the amicable settlement of disputes with traders.

Address:
Sofia
14 Parensov Str., fl.1
Phone: 439 54 13
 

Bulgarian Consumers Academy
Bulgarian Consumers Academy is a voluntary, independent, non-political organization of legal entities and individuals interested in providing information for effective consumer protection and education in this regard to all market players, established in 2001. The Academy aims to help consumers through cooperation and implementation of activities in training the correct consumer behavior in the market and acquiring skills for accurate consumer choice, exchange of experience with similar European organizations providing consumer protection, etcs.
Address: 
1303 Sofia, 35А Stefan Stambolov Str.
Phone and Fax: (02) 931 9810
Е-mail: bap@mail.orbitel.bg
 

Bulgarian National Consumers Association 
Bulgarian National Consumers Association was established in 1998. Its main objectives are:

  • to inform and consult the public on the issues of consumer protection;
  • to assist consumers in protecting their rights and interests and in their access to justice;
  • to contribute to the environmental protection;
  • to represent and protect the interests of consumers in Bulgaria before government authorities, individuals, legal entities, and international organizations. Furthermore, the Bulgarian National Consumers Association organizes discussions and elaboration of opinions on draft legislation, distributes informational materials related to consumer protection, participates in extra-judicial institutions for considering consumer disputes, advises consumers, etc.

Address: 
1000 Sofia
10 Eleventh August Str.
Phone: 02/989 01 06
Phone/Fax: 02/989 01 07
E-mail:bnap@bnap.org
http://www.bnap.org

National League – Service Users
National League – Service Users Association was established in 2001 and carries out its activities mainly in the city of Burgas and the southeastern part of Bulgaria. The main activities of the association are related to protection of the collective interests of service users and information campaigns.
Address:
8005 Burgas
Slaveykov Housing Estate, bl. 63, entr. 8
Phone: 056/888955
E-mail: National_league@abv.bg

National Association for Consumer Information and Advice to Citizens 
National Association for Consumer Information and Advice to Citizens was established in 2002. The main activities of the association are aimed at provision of the necessary information to consumers, manufacturers and retailers, participation in the formulation of consumer policy at a national, regional and local level, etc.
Address: 
35А Stefan Stambolov Str., fl. 1, apt. 1
1303 Sofia
Phone/Fax: (+359 2) 833 32 85

Independent Union of Consumers in Bulgaria

Independent Union of Consumers in Bulgaria is a national association of citizens aiming to protect the health, safety and economic interests of consumers by promoting their rights to information, education and civil representation. IUCB has structures and offices in more than a third of the regional centres and in larger municipalities, and representatives are included in various advisory and working bodies at a national level.
The main objective of IUCB is a public and political representation and protection of the rights and interests of consumers.
Address:
Sofia, 5 Pirotska Str., fl.4, offices 8 and 9
Phone/Fax: +359 2 981 67 77 and +359 888 788 708
E-mail: consumers_bg@mail.bg
 

Consumer Information and Research Centre
Consumer Information and Research Centre is a non-governmental organization registered in the Central Register of non-profit organizations working for the public interest. The association was formed in 1998; its membership includes professionals from various fields, who primarily work on a voluntary basis.
Address:
4000Plovdiv
27 Knyaz Aleksandar I Batenberg Str., fl. 3, office 13
Phone: 359 32 687 478
Fax: 359 32 687 478
E-mail: ydavch@yahoo.com
 

Regional Consumers Union – 98 Vidin
Regional Consumers Union – 98 Vidin was established in 1998 and carries out its activities mainly in the town of Vidin and the northwestern part of Bulgaria. The main activities of the association are related to dissemination of consumer information, participation in joint activities with the supervisory bodies of the market, working with consumer complaints and out of court settlement of consumer disputes.
Address:
3700Vidin, 2 Bdintsi Sq., fl. 11, room 10
Phone: 094/ 625 695
Phone and Fax: 094/ 601431
E-mail: rsp_vd_98@abv.bg

Union of the Insured in Bulgaria
Union of the Insured in Bulgaria was established in March 2000. The main activities of the association are related to the protection of consumers, users of insurance services, protection of the collective interests of consumers, protection of the economic interests of consumers, and in particular regarding consumer contracts, work with consumer complaints in the insurance field, etc.
Address: 
8001 Burgas
Lazur Housing Estate, bl.7, entr. А
Phone/Fax: 056 83 14 62; Hotline: 0887733261
http://szb.dir.bg

Federation of Consumers in Bulgaria
 Federation of Consumers in Bulgaria was established in May 1990. Since July 1991, FCB is a member of the International Organization of Consumer Unions, renamed the Consumer International in 1994.
In October 1995, the FCB, along with its sister organizations from Greece, Albania, Romania and Yugoslavia, established the Balkan Consumer Centre to which later joined Cyprus and Turkey, and in March the following year the Center received institutional recognition by the EU Commission.
FCB includes 23 regional unions of consumers in almost all regional cities, with the exception of the towns of Kyustendil, Pazardzhik, Smolyan, Yambol; 96 customer clubs to them; and three object-oriented unions - those of energy and water consumers, and of mothers protecting children's nutrition, member of the international network IBFAN. In order to achieve its main objective, the Federation of Consumers implements the following activities:

  • protection of consumers' economic interests;
  • provision of physical safety and increasing the quality of goods and services;
  • public awareness of the importance, opportunities and public benefit of the Organization of Bulgarian Consumers to protect their rights and interests as citizens and consumers;
  • initiation of proceedings to protect the collective interests of consumers;
  • consumer protection in the field of public utilities (energy, water, telecommunications, etc.);
  • representation to protect the interests of consumers - participation in consultative bodies, etc.;
  • development, organization and implementation of programs for the education and information of consumers, etc.

Address: 
35А Stefan Stambolov Str., fl. 1, apt. 1
1303 Sofia
Phone/Fax: (+359 2) 833 32 85
E-mail: fcb@potrebiteli-bg.org