As the winter season approaches, and with the obligation to switch to winter tyres when winter weather conditions prevail on the roads, tyre dealers traditionally experience a high level of demand for tyre changes.
This is why officials from the Ministry of Consumer Protection and ILNAS (Luxembourg Institute of Standardisation, Accreditation, Safety and Quality of Products and Services - under the supervision of the Ministry of the Economy) carried out joint checks in the tyre sector between mid-October and early November, in a joint effort to guarantee consumer safety and to check the conformity of tyre labels at tyre retailers.
The checks were carried out in 14 establishments throughout the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
The findings of the Ministry of Consumer Protection highlighted a number of non-compliances, mainly relating to the presentation of prices for accessories and services. For example, although tyre prices were, on the whole, correctly displayed, 36% of the establishments inspected did not display service charges correctly, while 50% failed to display the prices of accessories (e.g. car batteries, windscreen wipers, windscreen washer products).
The Ministry of Consumer Protection would like to point out that its approach to initial inspections is always collaborative. If professionals encounter obstacles in complying with the provisions of the Consumer Code, officers always try to help them achieve compliance. The spirit of cooperation shown by the professionals throughout the inspections bears witness to the fact that this collaborative approach helps to create a climate of mutual trust. Through their proactive attitude, retailers have demonstrated their commitment to protecting the rights of consumers in Luxembourg and their desire for transparency in the prices they charge.
It should also be noted that the Ministry of Consumer Protection has published a "Guide for professionals", which is available free of charge to retailers. The information sheets in this guide cover the remit of the Ministry of Consumer Protection in the context of the Consumer Code and are available in various languages.
ILNAS, for its part, has verified that tyres are indeed accompanied by a label that complies with the requirements set out in "Regulation (EU) 2020/740 on the labelling of tyres with respect to fuel efficiency and other parameters". These parameters include the fuel efficiency performance class, the wet grip performance class and the external rolling noise performance class. These parameters are important because they enable end-users to make an informed choice when purchasing tyres and guide them in selecting fuel-efficient, durable, safe and low-noise tyres.
ILNAS used the QR code on the tyre label to check whether the tyres inspected were registered in the EPREL (European Product Registry for Energy Labelling) product database. ILNAS then checked that the information on the inspected label corresponded to the information registered in this database and that the product information sheet was available. It should be noted that tyre suppliers are obliged to record information relating to the conformity of their tyres in this database. ILNAS checked 92 tyres. The result was that all the tyres had a label and were included in the database.
To remedy the problems identified and ensure greater transparency for consumers and fair competition, the Ministry of Consumer Protection will undertake the following actions:
- Debriefing with industry representatives: A meeting will be organised with industry representatives to discuss the results of the checks and the problems observed in order to develop common approaches and responses where appropriate;
- Communication: A general communication campaign will be set up to remind people of the rules governing the display of prices and rates for services.
- Webinar on price display rules: A webinar will be organised for professionals in the sector to explain their obligations in terms of price display and to help them achieve compliance;
- Training: The recurring breaches highlighted during inspections underline the importance of appropriate training to raise awareness of price display obligations among those involved in the tyre sector. In this context, the Ministry of Consumer Protection wishes to emphasise that it intends to contribute its expertise to complement and reinforce existing professional training programmes.
- Follow-up checks: The Ministry of Consumer Protection would like to inform you that it will be carrying out follow-up checks on establishments in which non-compliance with price display requirements has been noted, in collaboration with the Grand Ducal police, within the next few weeks. In this respect, it should be remembered that in accordance with article L. 112-9 of the Consumer Code, in the event of non-compliance with the rules on price indication, taxed warnings may be issued by Grand Ducal police officers. Criminal proceedings may also be instituted, and fines of between €25 and €1,000 (or even €2,000 under certain conditions) may be imposed.
In a second phase, ILNAS will carry out an in-depth inspection to check whether all the information recorded in the EPREL database by suppliers is compliant. The information recorded includes test protocols, technical parameters and calculations used to obtain the parameters indicated on the label.
The Ministry of Consumer Protection and the Ministry of the Economy are committed to continuing to work together with stakeholders from all sectors to ensure transparent and fair commercial practices and the protection of consumer rights in Luxembourg.
Paulette Lenert, Minister for Consumer Protection, commented: "The fruitful collaboration between my ministry and ILNAS is a source of great satisfaction. It testifies to our shared commitment to consumer protection. Together, we will persevere to ensure quality products and services, thereby strengthening consumer confidence and safety".
For his part, Franz Fayot, Minister of the Economy, said: "Compliance with display standards is not just a matter of complying with the regulations; it also reflects our commitment to a balanced economy and lasting confidence on the part of our fellow citizens. By ensuring a level playing field, we are fostering an environment conducive to innovation, quality and diversity, essential pillars of economic prosperity".
Press release by the Ministry of Consumer Protection, the Ministry of the Economy and the Luxembourg Institute of Standardisation, Accreditation, Safety and Quality of Products and Services (ILNAS)