The Observatory of Consumers' Indebtedness (OEC) was created on 19th July 2001 through a protocol established between the Consumer's Institute and the Centro de Estudos Sociais, a research center of the Faculty of Economics of the University of Coimbra. The Observatory's main objective is to carry out research on the problematics of consumers' indebtedness and overindebtedness.
It is the OEC's specific mission to perform the following tasks: collect and analyze economic and socio-legal information pertaining to consumers' credit; design methodologies for assessing overindebtedness; carry out technical studies aimed at characterizing and getting a better knowledge of the main tendencies of consumer indebtedness and overindebtedness; attend workshops and other meetings in order to discuss and devise appropriate measures in the areas of consumer credit, indebedtness and overindebtedness.
As part of its ongoing activities, the OEC is also committed to periodically disseminate the processed data and the results of its research; to organize thematic seminars and annual meetings with national and foreign experts in order to contribute to diagnoses as well as forecasts of consumers' indebtedness and overindebtedness; to establish links with similar institutions from other countries on a regular basis, with the aim of exchanging information and promoting joint activities.
While focusing primarily on the Portuguese case, the OEC will also be engaged in monitoring the situation in other countries and will join any relevant activities or events launched within the context of the European Union.

Maria Manuel Leitão Marques
Catarina Frade
Fernanda Jesus
Cláudia Lopes - (Investigadora Associada)
Pedro Brinca - (Investigador Associado)