On Wednesday morning, Nico Hoffmann, president of the Luxembourg Consumer Protection Association (ULC), was the guest of RTL Radio.
According to ULC President Nico Hoffmann, the government “could have done more” in terms of capping energy prices to combat high inflation. The ULC has already spoken out in favor of lowering excise duties, taxes and VAT, and continues to do so. But the government’s first priority should be “to finally adjust the tax table to inflation,” Hoffmann said.
“Lack of transparency” in the pricing policy of retirement homes
The ULC is concerned about the impact of high inflation on rates for seniors’ residences and nursing care. The ULC president argued that once prices cross a certain threshold, the state should step in “and cap prices, for example.” Hoffmann also criticized a “lack of transparency” in the pricing policy of many houses. Family Affairs Minister Corinne Cahen promised the introduction of a new law within this framework, but little progress has been made since, Hoffmann regretted.
The ULC also continues to criticize the closure of post offices and bank branches across Luxembourg. Elderly people, in particular, “need the help of various operators,” Hoffmann pointed out. The ULC president went on to say that he does not understand why the elderly or vulnerable are not exempt from bank charges for their everyday transactions, especially since these charges have increased by around 15% on average. over the past year. Hoffmann argued that this exemption is in fact provided for in a European directive which has not yet been transposed in Luxembourg.
“The goal is always to find common ground”
The housing sector is the source of the majority of disputes handled by the ULC. In 2021, the ULC opened 4,700 new litigation files, more than half of which relate to construction. The main points of contention are rental leases, condominium issues and agency contracts. The rest of the disputes relate to problems with administrations, car purchases and financial services.
Last year, ULC also made about 46,000 phone calls and provided more than 1,800 consultations. According to Hoffmann, the goal is to always find common ground. In less than 1% of cases, the Association feels obliged to take legal action. With regard to class actions, the ULC is still awaiting the opinion of the Council of State and hopes that the law will be voted in the fall of 2022 at the latest.