Guideline 1 should explicitly require that one of the two different channels to be made available by competent authorities for complainants must be a fully digital channel, allowing to identify and authenticate the complainant, and ensuring the integrity and non-repudiation of the information transmitted.
The information to be requested from the complainant when submitting a complaint is agreed with. However, Guideline 2 should explicitly dispose that a complaint submitted will only be sta-tistically recorded as a complaint when the complainant has, in the opinion of the competent au-thority, provided sufficient information for the latter to address the situation.
Whereas the acknowledgment and information to be provided by a competent authority to a com-plainant are agreed with, Guideline 3 should explicitly provide for that a competent authority’s reply will use the same channel that the complainant used in the first instance.
Assuredly the information gathered by competent authorities should form the basis for an aggrega-tion of complaints and an analysis of alleged infringements.
For such an aggregation and analysis to be meaningful, at a minimum however the following condi-tions must be fulfilled:
• As already stressed under the response to Question 2 above, only complaints that are suffi-ciently documented, and which complainant can be identified, are to be taken into considera-tion.
• Second, an aggregation across Member States becomes only meaningful when there is a har-monization in the definition of both “the nature of the most common types of complaints” (see Guideline 4.1.b) and “the identification of the issues most complained about” (see Guideline 4.1.d).
• Third, such aggregation only becomes meaningful when there is a harmonization of the catego-ries of complainants. In this respect, it should be ensured that also PSPs are allowed across all Member States to lodge complaints.
Assuredly competent authorities should document their procedure for the receipt of complaints as well as the internal governance of that procedure.
Guideline 5 should in addition provide that:
• Competent authorities should be invited to establish a forum in order to harmonize to the greatest extent possible these procedure and governance.
• These procedure and governance have to be developed through a public consultation pro-cess.
• The effectiveness of these procedure and governance should be subject to a public review within 3 years of their application.
Further to developing these procedure and governance through a public consultation process, Guideline 6 should also provide that the resulting documentation should become made publicly available, in the language(s) of the Member State of the respective competent authority, and at least in English.
Norbert Bielefeld