The purpose of Directive 2006/123/EC on services in the internal market is to improve the operation of the single services market. The Directive demands that Member States eliminate unjustified or disproportionate legal and administrative obstacles to establishing companies or the provision of cross-border services in the EU. The Directive is also intended to eliminate obstacles that confront recipients of services, i.e. consumers and companies, when accessing services in other Member States. In the second paragraph of Article 2, the Directive prohibits discrimination on the basis of the citizenship or place of residence related to the access to a certain service. Companies thus must not treat consumers differently just because they are from another country, unless there are objective reasons, such as e.g. additional costs borne by the company due to the remoteness of the place of delivery, special risks related to the applicable rules and regulations in other Member State, different market conditions, such as pricing by the competition, or lack of appropriate protection of intellectual property rights.
To enhance consumers' trust when accessing the services within the EU, Member States, as per the Directive, must provide consumers with general information on consumer legislation and consumers' rights as well as the information on organisations offering assistance to consumers in disputes with vendors. In Slovenia, the contact point for providing such information to consumers is the European Consumer Centre. The consumers' complaints stated in the report of the network of European Consumer Centres show that there are also complaints that relate to the denial of access to services or higher prices on the basis of the consumer's place of residence or citizenship.
Consumers most often encounter discrimination based on their place of residence when purchasing on-line from vendors outside their country or when travelling in another country. On the basis of its experience in dealing with consumers' complaints, the European Commission has prepared the Practical Guide for Consumers, in which consumers’ most frequent problems with access to services (including the delivery of goods) in other EU Member States are presented. Based on concrete examples, consumers can learn about the options to acquire better offers in the single market and about cases of unacceptable discriminatory practices.
If you want to file a complaint due to a violation of the rights deriving from the Directive on Services, we suggest contacting the service provider first. If the service provider fails to reply or the reply is unsatisfactory, you may contact the European Consumer Centre, which will ask the provider to eliminate the violations. The Directive on Services was transposed into the Slovenian legislation with the Act on services in the internal market and numerous other sectoral regulations. The Ministry of Economic Development and Technology – Internal Market Directorate, Sector for Services is competent for the transfer of the Directive.