EU modernises its consumer law
On 29 March, the Romanian presidency and the European Parliament reached an agreement on a draft directive which amends four existing EU directives protecting consumers’ interests.
The directive covers a wide range of topics and amends the unfair commercial practices directive 2005/29/EC, the consumer rights directive 2011/83/EU, the unfair contract terms directive 93/13/EEC and the price indication directive 98/6/EC.
Together with a proposal on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers, it is part of the ‘New Deal for Consumers’ launched by the Commission in 2017.
The agreed text included, among others, the provisions on:
- enhanced harmonisation and streamlining of some of the criteria to be used to determine the level of penalties for infringements of EU consumer law;
- a right to individual remedies for consumers when they are harmed by unfair commercial practices, such as aggressive marketing, and provided that these remedies are proportionate, effective and do not affect the application of other remedies available to consumers under EU or national law;
- enhanced transparency in online transactions, in particular regarding the use of online reviews, personalised pricing based on algorithms or higher ranking of products due to ‘paid placements’;
- clear information on price reductions;
- removal of disproportionate burdens, such as the obligation to use outdated means of communication by some businesses; and
- clarifications regarding the adoption by member states of stricter rules to protect legitimate interests of consumers.