Proposals for a New Deal for Consumers
On 11 April 2018 the European Commission published two directive proposals as part of the Commission's 'New Deal for Consumers' ("New Deal"). The New Deal is an initiative to ensure European consumers are benefiting from their rights granted under European Union law.
The inadequacy of the current regime was brought to light in the 'Dieselgate' scandal and in two reports - REFIT Fitness Check of EU Consumer and Marketing law ("Fitness Check") and Consumer Rights Directive evaluation ("CRD Evaluation") - which were published in May 2017 following an extensive evaluation conducted on existing consumer rules. The two new proposals are based on the recommendations made in the Fitness Check and CRD Evaluation and propose to build on the current legislative framework by amending existing Directives.
The first proposal is for a "Directive on better enforcement and modernization of EU consumer protection rules" ("Proposal 1"). It will revise four existing directives principally. The Unfair Contract Terms Directive (93/13/EEC) and the Consumer Price Indications Directive (98/6/EC).
The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (2005/29/EC) and the Consumer Rights Directive (2011/83/EU) will also be amended but solely in relation to the penalties.
Proposal 1 sets out to establish amongst other things:
effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties for widespread cross-border infringements; individual remedies for consumers who have been harmed by unfair commercial practices such as aggressive marketing; disclosure of third-party suppliers in online marketplaces as they may cause identifying the vendor difficult, thereby misleading the consumer; search results on online platforms requiring indications of "paid placements" (i.e. where a search result does not show the most relevant item but items that have paid to show up as a result thereby potentially misleading the consumer); that a commercial practice involving the marketing of a product as being identical to the same product marketed in several other Member States where those products have significantly different composition or characteristics causing or likely to cause the average consumer to take a transactional decision that he would have not taken otherwise, is a misleading commercial practice (misleading "dual quality" marketing); extending protection of consumers rights in respect of digital services where the consumer does not pay money...