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Pressure on Member States to implement consumer rights

Soazig de la Moissonnière

In adopting a report today on the implementation of an EU directive on unfair commercial practices, Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Affairs committee approved a new legislative tool to regulate misleading advertising and other unfair practices in business-to-consumer transactions. The non-legislative report urges Member States to further efforts in this regard and underlines the necessity of an enhanced cooperation between national authorities in the EU’s consumer protection network for cross-border enforcement and cooperation (CPC).

Robert ROCHEFORT, who was Parliament’s rapporteur for the report, said: "A full implementation and correct application of the Directive by Member States is crucial to protect consumers from unfair commercial practices directed at them by businesses. It will also help to make consumers more confident in regard to transactions within the internal market, whilst guaranteeing businesses greater legal certainty.

Achieving full compliance by businesses will only happen if prevention is stepped up and it is clear that penalties will be applied for infringement. I am therefore satisfied that the text asks the Commission to compile and analyse data on penalties applied by Member States. In that regard, I believe consumers must also be provided with efficient, swift and inexpensive means of redress, keeping in mind that many consumers hesitate to ask for redress when it seems to them that the amount concerned is not very high", Rochefort added.

An extension of the Directive to business to business cases is not foreseen.
The plenary vote is due for February 2014.

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