Objective of the directive

The objective of the new EU rules on unfair commercial practices from 2005 was to boost consumer confidence and make it easier for businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, to trade across borders.

EU rules on unfair commercial practices enable national enforcers to curb a broad range of unfair business practices. Examples of unfair business practices include untruthful information to consumers or aggressive marketing techniques to influence their choices.

Updated guidance

In May 2016, the Commission presented an updated version of the 2009 Guidance document on the application of the unfair commercial practices directive (‘the UCPD’). The purpose of the document is to facilitate the proper application of the directive.

It provides guidance on the UCPD’s key concepts and provisions and gives practical examples taken from the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union and from national courts and administrations.

To facilitate enforcement activities and ensure legal certainty, the updated Guidance highlights questions that are common to all Member States.

This includes topics such as

  • the link between the UCPD and other EU legislation
  • the mounting case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union and national courts
  • how the UCPD applies to new and emerging business models, especially in the online sector

In addition, the guidance document reflects and incorporates the key principles developed by the two multi-stakeholder groups on Comparison tools and Environmental claims. For more information see 

Unfair treatment: policy information

Unfair treatment: policy information

Rules on unfair commercial practices, false advertising, false product claims and fair comparisons.