Objective of the directive

The objective of the EU Directive 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.

The Directive has been amended by Directive (EU) 2019/2161 of 27 November 2019 on better enforcement and modernisation of Union consumer protection rules, part of the ‘New Deal for Consumers”  

Review of EU consumer law - New Deal for Consumers


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 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

As announced in the New Consumer Agenda of November 2020, the Commission will update the guidance documents on the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive and the Consumer Rights Directive by 2022. The update will address the amendments introduced by the Better enforcement and modernisation Directive and the new case law and market developments.