Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Christian Twigg-Flesner
Chapter 12: Contracts of sale
It is estimated consumer spending in Britain alone represents some 60 per cent of GDP. While this figure crudely lumps together contracts for services and utilities as well as goods, and makes no distinction between the varied forms of agreement under which those goods are supplied, it leaves little doubt that transacting in goods remains a self-evidently core part of the lives of European citizens and the economic lives of the Member States they inhabit. It is no surprise therefore that the attainment of a 'level playing' field for consumers should have been a policy objective to the European Union for many years, often being traced back to the Council Resolution of April 1975,which – while only providing a brief statement of very broad principle which does little more than to identify the need for the adoption of rules for the protection of consumers and calls for 'a coherent and effective consumer protection policy' is the foundation of the consumer law acquis, and from it spring, many years later the strands of European law which guarantee minimum protection for consumers in sale transactions. In the context of sales, this consumer protection is achieved primarily by the Consumer Sales Directive (99/44/EC; the Consumer Sales Directive or CSD) supplemented by the Consumer Rights Directive (2011/83/EU), the latter addressing the relatively narrow scope of the former, at least in some respects.
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