Assist. Prof. Dr. Dr. Arndt Künnecke
Consumer Rights Protection - Budapest
What do especially girls like most? Of course, SHOPPING! But what happens if you buy a product which turns out to be faulty or defective? What will you do in this situation? You might just bring the product back to the shop where you bought it and ask for repair, replacement or reimbursement of your money. But what if you purchased the good in the internet, maybe even at an online shop which is located in a country of the EU? Can you send the product back and claim back your money? And within which period can you send the defective product back and get your money reimbursed? These and similar questions were in the centre of an Erasmus IP project about consumer rights protection in the EU which took place in Budapest / Hungary from 21.04.-04.05.2013.
Five partner universities from Belgium, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania and Turkey with altogether 30 students and five lecturers came together for this project. Turkey was represented by us: six students and one lecturer from Okan University’s Faculty of Law. In the first week, we were attending lectures about various areas of consumer rights protection, such as goods and services, product liability, advertising, financial services and e-commerce. After these lectures we came together in multinational groups, discussing specific consumer law problems and solving cases. The task of the second week was to write a joint brochure for producers and sellers in the EU and in Turkey, guiding them through their rights and duties selling products or services. This brochure will be published in English this summer as well as in Turkish by the end of this year.
However, working together in the academic field of consumer rights in theory and practice was only one part of the project. Of course, one of the main aspects of an intensive programme (IP) is working on academic topics in an international environment. But the main aim of any Erasmus activity is bringing together people from all over Europe from different countries, cultures and personal backgrounds. And, actually that was the most exciting thing about the project: getting to know more about each other. We have been together all day – and sometimes also all night – long. We discussed academic topics and spent lots of different leisure time activities together, like a visit to the Hungarian Parliament, a boat trip on the river Danube, a Belgium Cantus Evening, Karaoke, Pub Crawling and Disco Night. During these two weeks in Budapest we got infected by the “Erasmus virus”. We met amazing people who we would have never met in our life without this Erasmus IP project. We were curious about each other and learned a lot about others and ourselves. We made many new friends with the other participants. We will definitely stay in contact and already made plans to visit each other. And we felt that we are not different than other Europeans. Although Turkey is not a member of the EU yet, our “Team Turkey” was in the centre of this European project for two weeks, not feeling any form of mistrust, resentment or differentness. On the contrary: Everybody loved the Turkish Team and its coach – and we are proud having been able to represent our country and our university abroad.
The participation in this Erasmus project was a unique experience for all of us. And, although the project is over now, the impact will remain: if it is the printed brochure, the friendships or the memories. All of us want to go on Erasmus again. And we would like to encourage you to do the same. You definitely won’t regret it!
Participants: Cansu Telli, Ece Bilik, Elif Türkay, Ezgi Koç, Gizem Anlaş, Ifeoma Momah
Lecturer: Assist. Prof. Dr. Dr. Arndt Künnecke