What the directive does

The directive on unfair terms in consumer contracts introduces the notion of "good faith" to prevent imbalances in the rights and obligations of consumers on the one hand and sellers and suppliers on the other hand.

List of unfair terms

A list of examples of terms that may be regarded as unfair further illustrates this general requirement. Unfair contract terms are not binding for consumers. The directive also requires contract terms to be drafted in plain and intelligible language and states that ambiguities will be interpreted in favour of consumers.

EU countries must make sure that effective means exist under national law to enforce these rights and that such terms are no longer used by businesses.

Defining standard contract terms

Standard contract terms facilitate commercial transactions and can also work to the advantage of consumers. Contract terms define the rights and obligations of the parties. In consumer contracts, sellers and suppliers possess a considerable advantage by defining the terms in advance that are not individually negotiated.


The directive was part of the Fitness Check of the EU consumer and marketing law.