The European Commission has adopted a Communication setting out a proposal for a harmonised methodology for classifying and reporting consumer complaints and enquiries. The proposed methodology aims to provide complaint handling organisations (such as national consumer authorities, consumer organisations, ombudsmen, complaints boards or regulators) with a common grid of classification criteria (such as selling method, type of business, product category).

According to the Communication, organisations can volunteer to use the classification system and to send their data to the Commission. The Commission would then make the data public through the Consumer Market Scoreboard. This would allow comparison between sectors and countries and provide an EU-wide indication of markets that are failing consumers. It would also enable national and EU authorities to target those markets more efficiently.

A public consultation on the draft harmonised methodology is open until 5 October 2009. The Commission will then make recommendations on the final version of the methodology