Feeds

A fifth of Europeans can't work out how much a TV costs

And a quarter never read a contract before they sign it

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A full 20 per cent of European consumers are too befuddled to work out which is the cheaper flat screen TV when given a choice of two*, European Commission research has found.

The figures, released today, show that fewer than two-thirds of consumers could read an ingredients label, while 18 per cent of shoppers are flummoxed when asked to identify a best before date.

The research was released to coincide with the 2011 European Consumer Summit, and comes after years of European initiatives on consumer protection and standardisation.

The press bumf accompanying the research states that: "Empowered consumers find it easy to identify the best offer, know their rights and seek redress when things go wrong."

Yet the survey of 56,471 people across 29 countries, found that fewer than half of EU consumers felt "confident, knowledgeable and protected as consumers".

More than a fifth reported a problem in the previous 12 months, and the researchers calculated that "detriment reported by consumers" was worth around 0.4 per cent of EU GDP.

They reported that the "internet and the media have a key role to play in consumer empowerment, with more than 38 per cent of consumers using the internet to compare products and given the media's capacity to reach citizens directly."

This may or may not have something to do with the fact the highest proportions of confident consumers – between 95 per cent and 83 per cent – are in the Netherlands, Sweden, UK, Denmark, Finland, Ireland and Luxembourg. And Slovenia. The least confident are in Bulgaria (64 per cent), Greece (57 per cent) and Romania (47 per cent).

When it comes to buying durable goods, the most popular way to prepare for a purchase is to visit different shops (58 per cent) and speak with family and friends (31 per cent). By contrast, one-quarter of respondents use price-comparison websites.

Almost a quarter of respondents say they never read a contract when buying a service, such as a mobile phone or utility.

Shockingly, that's even fewer than the number of UK voters who actually turn out for Euro elections. ®

Bootnote

We know you'll want to know the details of that fiendishly difficult TV price test, so here it is:

"Respondents were next presented with a scenario where two shops were selling identical flat-screen TVs. They were told that in shop A, the price is €500 but a discount of 10% is offered. In shop B, the price is €400. Consumers were asked which TV would be cheaper."

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
10 Top Tips For PRs Considering Whether To Phone The Register
You'll Read These And LOL Even Though They're Serious
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.