Consumer centres are located in all the German federal states and offer a comprehensive service in some 200 advice centres. These centres provide consumers with reliable, up-to-date information and independent consultation.
The consumer centres are independent, predominantly state-financed and non-profit organisations. The goal of their work is to inform, advise and support consumers with regard to issues of private consumption. They provide an overview of the market and help consumers deal with complex market conditions. They also identify health and environmental aspects that could influence purchasing decisions.
The work of the consumer centres is supported by federal state funding, municipal and district support for the individual advice centres and by project funding from the national government. The consumer centres also contribute to this funding with charges for consultation services and the sale of consumer advice guides.
Our advice centres and our telephone and Internet services offer advice on legal and economic issues affecting the private household. For example, we can provide you with reliable information on contracts of sale and service agreements, false promises made by prize game organisations, the latest miracle diets and dietary supplements, the legitimacy of telecommunications and energy charges, the best pension plans, health insurance and other types of insurance.
We provide advice on:
You can find a complete list of the services offered in your federal state on the websites of the individual consumer centres.
Telephone advice is offered in all federal states on our advice hotlines. Charges for these services differ, and you can find precise details on the website for your federal state.
The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbz) is the umbrella organisation of 38 consumer centres making up a network promoting consumer interests which has more than eight million individual members. Member organisations of the Federation of German Consumer Organisations include:
We give consumers' concerns a public profile and exert influence on policy-makers with the aim of establishing rules that guarantee a fair and transparent market. We highlight irregularities and injustices and if necessary enforce consumer rights in court. We create the foundation that enables our members to provide reliable and independent consumer advice.
We are active on three levels:
The vzbv is part of an international network of consumer organisations and, as one of Europe’s largest consumer lobbies, represents the interests of consumers vis-à-vis politicians and policy-makers, the private sector and the public sphere.
The federation was established in 2000 as a result of the merger of three consumer-interest organisations, the AgV, the VSV and the Stiftung Verbraucherinstitut. Today around 100 staff members work in our Berlin offices.
The Federation of German Consumer Organisations is independent, non-partisan and a registered non-profit organisation. Our work is financed by funds from the Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection, Federal Government and European Union project funds and by membership fees and the sale of consumer advice guides.
More information on current themes can be found at www.vzbv.de