45 years in service for the consumer in Saarland
In agreement with the Ministry of Economic and some women organisations the Consumer Advice Centre of the Saarland as registered association was established in 1961. The objective of the VZ was to generate a consumer association similar in other Federal States of Germany.
Today 30 social relevant organisations and regional authorities are members in this association. At that time one of the first orders for the Consumer Advice Centre was to provide assistance, if the consumer like to buy on good terms to save money.
In practice this means to help the consumer to find the favourable financing and to inform about the possible uses and quality of product offered.
Up to now the advice and the information of the consumers as well as the representation of their interests to be in foreground at work of the VZ.
The VZ belongs to the smallest in Germany however the activities are affected by the geographical position in the border triangle France-Luxembourg- Germany.
With the intention to promote a cross-border advice betimes the VZ built up connections to consumer organisations in France and Luxembourg and made agreements.
The VZ belongs also to the pioneer concerning the advice of patients. Through co-operation with the Social Association VdK the VZ is involved in the patient advice and campaign that consumers obtain theirs rights as well in the field healthcare more effectively.
In the course of the decades the key aspects of activity have changed. Four decades ago the VZ started with the advice in home economic and today the main focus shifted towards product advice. In the past consumers wanted to be informed where they could buy the product cheaply, but today they like to have detailed information about the quality and sustainability of products. In the meantime the VZ Saarland has enlarged the expert advice. Now the VZ provides advisory service for nutrition, products (Infothek), housekeeping allowance, legal consumerism, advice of patients, as well as financial services e.g. retirement arrangement, construction financing, insurance or financial investment.
Annually the Consumer Advice Centre in Saarbrücken, Dillingen , Merzig and Neunkirchen register more than 50.000 consumer contacts. 22 staff members and 12 freelancers are available to reply quickly the numerous inquiries. In addition the VZ represent consumer interests of the saarländische population opposite politics and administration on Region-, Federal- and European level. The financing of the VZ is largely founded by the region (budget funds of the land), the German Federal Ministry of Consumerism and a lower part comes from further promoter.