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Consultation on EU consumer and marketing laws – Are they fit for purpose?

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United Kingdom

Earlier this year, the European Commission opened a public consultation on current EU consumer and marketing law to run a "Fitness Check" to assess the current regulatory framework with a view to simplifying the law and reducing regulatory costs. Six directives were subject to their "Fitness Check".

Earlier this year, the European Commission opened a public consultation on current EU consumer and marketing law to run a "Fitness Check" to assess the current regulatory framework with a view to simplifying the law and reducing regulatory costs.

Six directives were subject to their "Fitness Check", including:

  • The Unfair Contract Terms Directive;

  • The Misleading and Comparative Advertising Directive;

  • The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive;

  • The Sales and Guarantees Directive;

  • The Price Indication Directive; and

  • The Injunctions Directive.

Although subject to separate evaluation by the Commission, the Consumer Rights Directive was also covered by the consultation.

During the Consultation period, the Commission welcomed responses from citizens, organisations and public authorities. The UK's Advertising Association (the "AA") submitted its response and questioned the necessity of re-opening and expanding these existing Directives. The AA are of the belief that the current legal framework adequately protects both consumers and businesses and they object to certain suggested proposals put forward by the Commission:

  • Altering the definition of "vulnerable consumer";

  • Consolidating the current rules into one horizontal instrument;

  • Extending the current blacklist of prohibited practices; and

  • Creating further harmonisation.

However, the AA states that it would be a good opportunity to streamline laws, eliminate overlaps and provide clear and consistent information to consumers.

The public consultation closed for responses on 12 September 2016. The Commission will now review the gathered evidence. There is an EU Consumer Summit dedicated to the "Fitness Check" on 17 October 2016 in Brussels and by the second quarter of 2017, the Commission aims to publish its report.

We will keep an eye on progress so that we can keep you updated with any key changes.

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