Table of Contents

Research Handbook on EU Consumer and Contract Law

Research Handbook on EU Consumer and Contract Law

Research Handbooks in European Law series

Edited by Christian Twigg-Flesner

Research Handbook on EU Consumer and Contract Law takes stock of the evolution of this fascinating area of private law to date and identifies key themes for future development of the law and research agendas. The Handbook is divided into three parts: first, authors examine a range of cross-cutting issues relevant to both consumer and contract law. The second part discusses specific topics on EU Consumer Law, and the final part focuses on a number of important subjects which remain current for the development of EU Contract Law.

Chapter 17: Unfair commercial practices

Willem H van Boom

Subjects: law - academic, consumer law, european law, law of obligations


The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (hereafter: UCP Directive) aims to combat unfair commercial practices in business-to-consumer transactions. Traders who engage in unfairly influencing consumers by aggressive or misleading practices may distort consumers' economic choice-making. By countering such practices, the Directive attempts to fortify consumer choice and the fair operation of business-to-consumer markets. This chapter offers an introduction and analysis of the UCP Directive. First, an outline of the Directive is provided (Section 2) after which the key elements of the Directive are introduced (Sections 3 and 4). Then, the relationship between the UCP Directive and other European Directives as well as national laws on fair competition and consumer protection is discussed in light of the broad scope and the maximum harmonisation principle which underlies the UCP Directive (Sections 5 and 6). Further, certain aspects of enforcement of the UCP Directive are considered (Section 7). After these mostly descriptive sections of the chapter, some further attention is devoted to one of the main themes running through the UCP Directive, namely the tension between championing self-reliance of 'average consumers' and offering protection against certain unsavoury practices (Section 8). Moreover, in conclusion some unresolved issues and matters meriting further research are discussed (Section 9).

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