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."

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.