On 8 November 2019, the Council of the EU announced that it had adopted a Directive amending the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (2005/29/EC), the Consumer Rights Directive (2011/83/EU), the Unfair Contract Terms Directive (93/13/EEC) and the Price Indication Directive (98/6/EC) (the Directive).

The intention of the Directive is to guarantee higher standards of protection for EU consumers when they buy products or services online. It also provides for more robust measures against unfair or misleading trade practices across the EU. Among other things, the Directive provides for:

  • enhanced harmonisation and streamlining of some of the criteria used to determine the level of penalties for infringements of EU consumer law;
  • enhanced transparency in online transactions, in particular regarding the use of online reviews, personalised pricing based on algorithms or higher ranking of products due to paid placements; and
  • an obligation for online marketplaces to inform consumers on whether the responsible trader in a transaction is the seller and/or the online marketplace itself;

The Directive will enter into force on the twentieth day following its publication in the Official Journal of the EU. Member States will then have 24 months to adopt the measures necessary for its implementation. These measures will start to apply 6 months later.