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Consumers (11-05-2005)

Unfair Commercial Practices Directive Signed

Directive 2005/29/EC on Unfair Commercial Practices was signed by the European Parliament and the Council today. The Directive, which was proposed by the Commission in June 2003, aims to clarify consumers’ rights and boost cross-border trading by harmonising EU rules on business-to-consumer commercial practices. The new legislation outlines “sharp practices” which will be prohibited throughout the EU, such as pressure selling, misleading marketing and unfair advertising. Certain rules on advertising to children are also set out. Through this legislation, EU consumers will be given the same protection against aggressive or misleading marketing whether they buy locally or from other Member States’ markets. Businesses will benefit from having a clear set of common EU rules to follow, rather than a myriad of divergent national laws and court case rulings, as is currently the case.

The Directive will be published in the Official Journal shortly and its provisions must be applicable in the Member States within two and a half years of its publication. The Commission will work with the Member States and all the relevant stakeholders to make sure that the Directive is transposed into national law in a timely and accurate manner.

To read the provisional consolidated texts of the Directive, see: (English) (French)