Edited by Christian Twigg-Flesner
Chapter 17: Unfair commercial practices
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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