European Protection Against Unfair Sales Practices

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Introduction

The European Union (EU) has established and ratified several regulations and frameworks that seek to promote healthy business practices among the member countries. In particular, the move by the EU seeks to protect the end consumer, through existing regulation, from being subjected to unfair sales practices. To sustain this objective, the EU has established the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive and the Consumer Rights Directive, which all EU member countries are required to adhere1. The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive was made in May 2005 and implemented in June 2006, with its objective being the minimization of free trade barriers. It simultaneously ensures consumer protection is maintained at a high level. On the other hand, the Consumer Rights Directive seeks to achieve a realistic business-to-consumer internal market, while striking the needed balance between enterprises’ competitiveness and high-level consumer protection. This paper undertakes an in-depth analysis and assessment of both EU directives to determine the exact ways in which they enhance protection against unfair sales practices. This analysis will focus mainly on the United Kingdom (UK) consumers.

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The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD)

Control against Harassment

The UCPD is a much more comprehensive framework compared to other consumer protection directives that existed before. Unlike the previously existing directives, the UCPD targets specific matters2. Article 5(2) (3) of the UCPD forms its basic objective, which is to offer protection to the economic interests of the average consumer. Equally, Articles 1, 2(e), in addition to 5(3) highlight the broader definition with which the directive considers ‘commercial practice’. This definition involves conduct before, during, as well as after contracts.

Another critical aspect of the UCPD, which particularly helps it to enhance consumer protection against unfair sales practices, is contained in Article 2(d). The article classifies B2C business practice as any act, representation, omission, or conduct of any form of commercial communication, such as marketing and advertising that directly connects with the sale, supply, or product promotion to consumers. This is a wide and exhaustive definition that targeted to seal all loopholes that existed prior to UCPD’s implementation and which led to unfair sales practices.

UCPD terms any commercial practice as unfair if its own requirements are contrary to those contained in the professional diligence3. This may increase the chances of materially distorting the economic behavior of the average consumer’s product or the average group members who are subjected to commercial practice. The twofold test contained in the directive’s framework is a critical balancing mechanism useful in screening out the anxiety. The UCPD further involves a directive on professional diligence in seeking to enhance special skill standards and care. This mechanism resembles what is already inherent within the English system in as far as the aspect of reasonable skill, as well as care, is concerned.

Aggressive practices that result from coercion, harassment, or undue influence have all been captured in Article 8 of the directive. In essence, the average UK consumer has been cushioned from the confusion that could eventually affect his freedom of choice. Additionally, this Article targets to mainly protect the consumer from having his transactional decision distorted. All the undue influences that traders may use to influence customers unfairly have been defined within the directive.

The previously existing regime that guarded against harassment of debtors was inadequate in its composition. Private law concepts like actual undue influence and duress have characteristically required pressure or positive threats as opposed to the use of obstructive behavior often being focused on forcing the other party into taking positive action. This is done at the expense of giving up a claim. The UCPD has moved toward nullifying the traditional UK requirement for duress where the threat was often considered in terms of doing something independently unlawful. Under such considerations, duress or actual undue influence only came into play after a contract’s existence resulted from a trader’s behavior compared to likely or actual consumer decisions concerning giving up on enforcement of their rights.

The Average Consumer

UCPD gives the average ambiguous consumer standard statutory ability, standing, as well as permanence4. The member states of the EU are harmonized through the Commercial Practices Directive that is contained in the overall UCPD framework5. The requirement triples down to protect the average UK consumer because even trade between countries requires that harmful practices are curbed as a way of protecting consumers’ economic interests. The double regulation contained in this framework ensures that the internal market functions smoothly, while providing high-level protection to the consumers. The directive protects the average consumer in UK in varied ways, including socially, culturally, as well as in terms of linguistic factors. Thus, it has broadened its protection to the consumer such that the consumer is shielded from any possible loopholes through which the unfair practices may be meted6.

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The Commercial Practices Directive constitutes a general clause that is created mainly to rule out traders’ unfair commercial behaviour. This places traders into two distinguishable categories of those who are misleading consumers, on the one hand, and those who are aggressive on the other hand7. Unfair commercial practices’ prohibition in the UK applies to the promotional stage just prior to a product’s or service’s sale and during the period preceding the sale. In other words, the UK consumer enjoys greater protection before he buys and even after acquisition, where he may raise objections and dissatisfaction to the service or product acquired8.

Traders, therefore, are forced to observe the laid out professional standards on accuracy and disclosure as they sell their products. The average UK consumer’s economic behaviour is shielded from using pertinent information dispassionately as a way of evaluating a commercial proposal9.

Misleading actions have been prohibited by virtue of the UK ratifying this directive, which comes with its elaborate definition and identification of acceptable. As such, misleading actions and commercial practices that were previously under the control of the 1968 Trade Descriptions Act have been taken into consideration. According to Collins10, the extent of detail contained in the general clause makes it wide-ranging, sealing all loopholes that would result in deviation between the national legal systems. Concerning the relative precision of the UCPD, the regulators of the consumer protection laws throughout the UK find it more comfortable and supportive to enforce the regulations on misleading actions11.

The UCPD has transformed the manner in which the Trading Standards Officers acted in the UK in the past, much to the advantage of the average consumer. For instance, in the past the Trading Standards Officers only reacted to issues, where their action relied heavily on complaints forwarded to them. However, the recent guidance by the European Commission that is contained in the UCPD framework now empowers the body to be proactive, where action does not rely on complaints to be made before seeking for solution12. This implies that the new regulatory framework has enhanced consumer protection, where issues touching on the consumer and his protection are given first priority.

Preventive enforcement

The UK has literally shifted from piecemeal rules, as well as private enforcement toward a European focus by virtue of adopting and implementing UCPD13. This shift has in turn proven to be of great success to the consumers as it offers better foundation for the realisation and attainment of social justice objectives. Private enforcement or individual enforcement is no longer at play in the UK as was the situation prior to the full implementation of the UCPD regulations.

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One critical area that has been transformed to the benefit of the UK consumers is on the regulation of contract terms. The contract terms that bound UK consumers before UCPD mainly relied on information or transparency of the parties14. Part of the incorporation rules demanded that some level of notice be attained, but did not generally set specific levels of transparency. The existence of more direct control took precedence and mainly relied on substantive features, such as terms that allowed for the retention of abnormal deposits in order to impose penalties as well as act as forfeiture of property15.

The only accepted general rule, however, was the equitable principle of unconscionability, which formed part of the ‘general clause’ applicable to all manners of possible term unfairness. Nevertheless, this principle was not developed to a level where it would eventually offer control with regard to unfair standard terms. Instead, it was limited to great contractual unfairness forms that involved gross procedural disparity, which in turn was exploited in order to produce unpleasant substantive imbalance16.

The UCPD’s Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Directive, however, strengthened consumer protection through introduction of a significant shift. This shift introduced into play general principle, as well as preventive enforcement. This shift has brought with it greater potential to protection. It has significantly expanded criminal and preventive enforcement, which goes a long way to affirm consumers’ protection from unfair practice17. The UCPD’s feature that allows for applicability of control before a transaction, during its execution and even after execution, is particularly critical in enhancing consumer protection. This contrasts sharply to the previous regulation on misleading statements, for instance, which focused essentially on statements that promoted goods and services.

UCPD, therefore, applies its test mechanism at all stages. This state in turn offers consumers’ access to justice by providing more potential. Consumers are cushioned from traders’ misleading statements concerning their rights at any given period of a dispute. The aggressive practices concept that is a part of the UCPD provides a widened protection to the consumer by curtailing practices that may affect their informed decision, as well as choice constraint problems. UCPD’s effectiveness is deeply seated as it is able to capture any choice constraint to a greater extent.

The UK consumer enjoys protection to numerous practices that may unfairly be invoked by traders. These wide varieties of practices include uncooperative and obstructive tactics, which are used to weaken access to redress by the consumer18. The guidelines talk about any unfair barrier that a seller may impose on a consumer in the course of the consumer exercising his or her rights19.

Suitability

UCPD has brought about the aspect of suitability to UK consumers through its consumer protection mechanism. The consumers enjoy suitability of advice, suitability of products, as well as suitability of targeting20. Advice is established as an area that is closely regulated in the financial industry sector. As part of UCPD’s regulatory framework, firms are required to offer suitable advice to their consumers while taking their circumstances into consideration. Recommendations obtained by consumers have to reflect their exact circumstances, needs, and priorities. This has seen UK consumers particularly those within the financial sector receive quality advice as a result of the strengthened regulations. The law demands that the quality of the advice provided be of a higher level, giving a remedy in instances where the advice turned out to be less suitable in the given circumstances.

This has also enhanced consumers’ own demand for fairness as stipulated in the law. UK customers consider it an unfair practice when firms fail to recommend to them the most appropriate service or product. The traders and service providers realise the expectation of the consumer in terms of the quality of service being required, which has in itself compelled the traders to raise their operations.

With regard to suitability of service, the declaration demands that companies design their products and services in a way that accurately meets identified customer groups’ needs. The regulation envisaged a scenario where firms will be restricted into producing products whose characteristics match consumers’ needs21. This requirement has played a critical role in embedding a mentality to the effect that producing goods that fail to satisfy consumers is an unfair practice. Firms in the UK no longer consider taking advantage of the consumer, which amounts to unfairness in itself.

Consumer credit fairness

This aspect of the consumer regulation law addresses ‘Unfair Relationships’. There is an advantage in borrowing in the UK in that the borrower can lodge complaints if the lender does not handle matters concerning credit fairly. The new regulation as contained in the directive has enhanced consumer protection to a greater extent compared to the regulation that existed before. The Consumer Credit Act of 1974 contained provisions on consumer protection with regard to credit fairness, which had a lot of loopholes that failed to guarantee consumers full protection. Under sections 137-140, a court would re-open a credit bargain in case it determined it to be extortionate to pursue justice for the parties involved.

Section 138(1) of the Act considered any credit bargain to be extortionate if it termed the requirement of a debtor making payments that were grossly exorbitant as mandatory. This would still happen in an instance where the requirement involved a relative of the debtor. However, the inadequacy of this law was caused by use of the term ‘extortionate’, which made the whole concept unclear22. It made the test doubtful because it was not easy to ascertain whether it considered all appropriate matters. Additionally, it was ambiguous in as far as the extent to which the test covered substantive and procedural unfairness was concerned.

UCPD’s integration into the UK laws changed this state of affairs as it introduced enhanced laws to offer maximum protection to the consumer. With the new law, orders can be made by the court concerning credit agreement where it is discovered that the debtor and creditor relations resulting from the agreement appears unfair with regard to the debtor’s position23. The cause of unfairness may be as a result of the use of terms applied in the agreement or in the manner in which enforcement of the creditor’s rights have been done within the agreement. Unfairness may also result from omissions or additions by the creditor, after the agreement has already been made on his behalf or prior to its making24.

The consumer’s protection, with regard to the UCPD’s structure, thus enhances greater security even in the event that alterations are made to the business agreement between the consumer and trader. The directive gives the court extended powers to consider all matters that it may deem as relevant as relates to the debtor and the creditor. This test offers maximum flexibility to the courts in terms of unfairness considerations. The court ensures it avoids unduly constraint on the cases where individual cases are concerned. Unfairness involves business practices and contract terms, thus consumers are assured of protection in all these areas.

The Consumer Rights Directive (CRD)

Maximal harmonisation

The CRD targets to create an internal market where member countries such as the UK integrate their local markets to form one large regional market. Maximal harmonisation mainly seeks to establish a vast coverage of the regime across the entire EU member states in order to extend consumer protection across the entire EU region25. The UK consumers benefit from enhanced protection as a result of the maximal harmonisation that is brought about by CRD. Contracts involving UK consumers and traders based in other EU countries are fully governed by the CRD regime.

According to Article 2(5), a very wide sphere that takes into consideration many types of business-to-customer contracts is considered. It implies that traders based outside the UK may not take the advantage of their geographical location and physical distance to sell substandard products to their UK consumers26. The consumer’s lawyer is obliged by law to fulfil all the information duties that are contained in Article 5. The CRD targets to enhance consumer confidence, where the UK’s rules are harmonised together with those of the other EU member countries. Both the foreign-based traders and the UK consumers, thus, have to fulfil a single set of requirements as a way of achieving standardisation27.

CRD achieves its harmonisation by relying on information that is required to be provided to the consumer at the time of procuring goods or services. The nature of information to be provided is declared by the directive, which gives the consumer protection against any kind of unfairness that could likely be promoted by the trader28. The consumer enjoys cancellation rights as well as responsibilities, particularly considering that the goods are acquired off-premises or at a distance. The trader must clarify the delivery dates and equally clarify the transfer of risks concerning the delivery of goods. Any practices that may result in the inclusion of hidden costs within the agreement are prohibited by the directive. In other words, the CRD harmonization has introduced an elaborate mechanism that ensures consumers’ interests are fully protected against any form of violation by the trader.

Consumers have the leverage to cancel a contract even after goods have been sold off-premises. This is a significant protective mechanism because it allows the consumer 14 day-period within which he can test the product acquired and establish whether it meets his own specifications. Goods returned within the specified period will enable the consumer to receive full refund of the cost incurred. The UK consumer benefits from this provision more than the case is with the traditional regulation because the latter only provides a 7-day calendar period within which consumers can return goods.

The consumer is guaranteed of information concerning the business, which is furnished by the trader even prior to implementing a trade contract29. The information to be availed to the consumer is critical because it will be used as part of the contract. The detail of information that is considered mandatory by CRD places the consumer at a better position in as far as the contract is concerned. The business decisions are made from an informed point of view, which increases the benefit that the customer will derive from the acquired product. The directive still provides after-sale protection where the consumer may not have interpreted such information properly because there was an option to return the goods.

CRD offers an assurance to the consumers regarding product delivery, which is beneficial because it allows for proper scheduling and decision-making. The consumer is shielded from the unfair practice where the trader may lack the surety on delivery of goods. According to the directive, delivery to the consumer must be done within 30 days from the day the order was placed. The UK consumer, thus, has the choice of terminating the contracting and ordering for a refund for failure on the part of the business to deliver within the stipulated time30.

Unfair terms

According to the 7th Article of the directive, the consumer is protected from contracts that use unfair terms that may end up only benefiting the consumer. This directive empowers both individuals and interested organizations to ensure consumers are fully protected by instituting legal action in court in order to determine the fairness of contractual terms. The UK consumer has his welfare protected by virtue of the Director General’s power to seek an injunction as a way of preventing consumers. This means that the government, through the Director General, will still come to the protection of the consumer even where consumers’ education may be inadequate to fully understand and interpret correctly the terms used in a trade contract31.

Other than the Director General, other bodies operating under the auspices of CRD also act as the custodian of the consumer’s protection. These bodies include the weights and measures authorities, statutory regulators, as well as Northern Ireland’s Department of Economic Development. Another body, the Consumers’ Association, is also granted powers to act on behalf of the consumers in seeking protection, although the powers are comparatively limited. In particular, the Consumers’ Association can only seek injunctions, which is contained in regulation 12. What all these bodies portend, with regard to the consumer protection, is the fact that CRD has opened up avenues through which numerous consumer bodies in the UK may act in defence of the final buyer32. They are proactive in their operation in the sense that they ensure that any complex terms contained in trade contracts are ironed out.

Digital content protection

With digitalisation almost extending to all aspects in life, the CRD has incorporated an enhancement to the protection of consumers. This offers extended benefits to UK consumers33. The purchase of products such as films, music, computer software, mobile applications, as well as e-books and ringtones has been protected by the directive, thus enhancing the efficiency of the services and products. The legal uncertainty concerning consumer rights, especially with regard to digital content, have been of great concern for longer periods now34.

The general clause on digital content that is contained in the directive bridges the gap on consumer protection that previously existed. More clarification has to be done under the directive in order to provide the consumer with all the necessary information that may be used in remedying faulty digital content. Information has to be provided by the traders in order to allow consumers make informed judgements prior to acquiring a product or service35. Information keeps changing with the dynamic nature of the digital products and innovations, making it difficult for buyers to accurately pick on the desirable choices. CRD ensures that dealers in digital contents offer accurate and up-to-date information to the consumer, which in turn gives the power to make a decisive purchase choice. This way, consumers’ resources and time are protected from being exploited by the traders to the disadvantage of the client.

The directive equally ensures that the information availed to the consumer is not constituted in complex terms, but one that can easily be interpreted by a nonprofessional. Information issued need to be organised in such a way that it falls into categories for easy interpretation by the consumer36. As such, CRD has attempted to seal all avenues that may confuse the consumer to an extent of acquiring a digital product or service that does not conform to his requirements and expectations.

Concerning online purchases, CRD has banned the practice of websites including pre-ticked boxes. This practise is considered to be the provision of information that is more likely to coerce a consumer into making purchase decisions that may in actual sense go against his wishes. Pre-ticked boxes in online purchases are mainly encountered when consumers wish to acquire such items as tickets for air travel or other similar items37. Often, such items may include several choices that may require the consumer to pick the most preferable option. With CRD, consumers are shielded from the influence of the supplier company, which may have such items on their website ticked in order to politely attempt to determine the consumer’s decision38.

Increased price transparency

CRD regulation requires that suppliers or traders disclose the amount to be incurred by the consumer in terms of prices and other additional costs prior to the purchase. Any specific charges that the consumer is not informed about will in turn not be incurred by the client. This protection assures the UK consumer of a safeguard against machinations by the traders that might see them required to pay an extra cost in order to have their goods delivered. CRD ensures that consumers can plan for the acquisition of a product or service without having to face unprecedented conditions imposed by the supplier for exploitative purposes.

Traders equally understand the implications of lacking transparency, while providing the information on price to their customers. They have, thus, instituted measures that guard against any practices that may result in contracts being nullified or products being returned and refunds demanded39. The consumers, therefore, are assured of full protection against any possibility of being taken advantage of through exorbitant prices. The information availed to the buyers is widely sourced and can easily coerce the consumer into seeking an alternative trader or supplier, especially when information on pricing fails to tally with the expectation of the consumer.

The traders go at greater length to ensure that they observe greater levels of transparency since consumers still have the option of cancelling a business agreement even after the purchase has been conducted. This surety enhances the benefit likely to be enjoyed by the UK consumers as a result of the CRD protection framework. This enhanced benefit does not only cover trade agreements with domestic traders and suppliers, but it spreads across the entire EU region. It implies that even where UK consumers seek to import products from within the EU market, they are still guaranteed of transparency. The traders cannot take advantage of the cross-border trade to exploit their consumers because such loopholes no longer exist40.

Conclusion

The European Union has introduced a regulatory framework that focuses on issuing total consumer protection from trade activities that involve suppliers and traders. This regulatory framework has mainly been divided into two, which involve the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD) and the Consumer Rights Directive (CRD). EU member countries, including the United Kingdom, have ratified these regulations in order to guarantee their consumers maximum protection. UCPD acts by blocking any form of harassment that may be directed toward a consumer by the trader. Business harassment comes in various forms and includes business requirements that go against the stipulated standard practices and procedure. Consumers are cushioned from acquiring products and services that fail to meet professional stipulation. Undue influence of the consumer that is executed by the trader as a way of coercing the consumer into buying is punishable by the law, which derives from the UCPD. The protection offered by this directive, in general, is applicable before a trade transaction, during its actual execution, and after the consumer has already acquired the product. UCPD introduces a very wide collection of regulations that seek to seal all loopholes through which a trader or supplier may wish to explore to the disadvantage of the consumer. On the other hand, the CRD mainly seeks to achieve consumer protection through maximisation of harmonisation. It introduces a standard legal mechanism that seeks to govern trade actions uniformly across the entire EU block. In this regard, UK consumers buying goods from other EU member states are protected fully from any irregular actions by the traders. The law requires that they are furnished with details concerning the contract or purchase agreement and have a right to return goods within 14 days after signing the trade contracts. The consumer is fully refunded in case the goods are returned within the stipulated 14 days. In general, this regulatory framework has enhanced consumer protection through introducing a wider definition of unfair practices and giving the consumer the mandate to only acquire goods that meet the desired specifications.

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Footnotes

  1. M Hans, N Reich & S Weatherill, ‘EU treaty revision and consumer protection”, Journal of Consumer Policy, vol. 27, no. 4, 2004, p. 368.
  2. J Stuyck, E Terryn & T Van Dyck, ‘Confidence through fairness? The new directive on unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market’, Common Market Law Review, vol. 43, 2006, p. 109.
  3. G Anagnostaras, ‘The New European law of unfair commercial practices and competition law’, Common Market Law Review, vol. 49, no. 4, 2012, p. 1513.
  4. J Stuyck, E Terryn & T Van Dyck, ‘Confidence through fairness? The new directive on unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market’, Common Market Law Review, vol. 43, 2006, p. 109.
  5. LJ Pegado, ‘The total harmonization trickery – special reference to directive 2005 CE’, Paper presented at the Regional Consumer Law Conference of the Consumer Affairs Council of Malta and the International Association of Consumer Law. Web.
  6. M Hilton, ‘Book reviews’, Journal of Consumer Policy, vol. 29, no. 1, 2006, p. 118
  7. Brand Republic, DMA Focus: The facts on… UCP Directive, 2007. Web.
  8. S Groom, ‘New unfair commercial practices ‘Guidance’, Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice, vol. 11, no. 4, 2010, p. 345.
  9. G Howells, M Hans & T Wilhelmsson, ‘Towards a better understanding of unfair commercial practices’, International Journal of Law and Management, vol. 51, no. 2, 2009, p. 70.
  10. H Collins, ‘Harmonisation by example: European laws against unfair commercial practices’, Modern Law Review, vol. 73, no. 1, 2010, p. 103.
  11. C Twigg-Flesner & D Parry, ‘The challenges posed by the implementation of the directive into domestic law- a UK perspective, In S. Weatherill & U. Bernitz (Eds.)’, The regulation of unfair commercial practices under EC directive 2005, New rules and new techniques (pp. 215–233), (Hart, Oxford, 2007), p. 216.
  12. CEC, ‘Guidance on the implementation/application of Directive 2005 EC on unfair commercial practices’, Brussels: Commission of the European Commission. European Commission Staff Working Document, 2009, p. 6.
  13. C Twigg-Flesner et al., An analysis of the application and scope of the unfair commercial practices directive: A report for the DTI, (DTI, London, 2005), p. 3.
  14. R Macrory, Regulation, enforcement and governance in environmental law, (Canon May Ltd, London, 2008), p. 39.
  15. C Willett, Fairness in consumer contracts, (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2007), p. 396.
  16. C Willett, Fairness in consumer contracts, (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2007), p. 299.
  17. K Patten, ‘Defining harassment’, New Law Journal, vol. 160, 2010, p. 332.
  18. C Twigg-Flesner, ‘Time to do the job properly—The case for a new approach to EU consumer legislation’, Journal of Consumer Policy, vol. 33, 2010, p. 355.
  19. G Howells, ‘Unfair commercial practices directive—A missed opportunity?’, In S. Weatherill & U. Bernitz (Eds.), The regulation of unfair commercial practices under EC directive 2005/29, New rules and new techniques (103–114), (Hart, Oxford, 2007), p. 105.
  20. C Willett, Fairness in consumer contracts, (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2007), p. 34.
  21. H Unberath & A Johnston, ‘The double-headed approach of the ECJ concerning consumer protection’, Common Market Law Review, vol. 44, no. 5, 2007, p. 1238.
  22. H Unberath & A Johnston, ‘The double-headed approach of the ECJ concerning consumer protection’, Common Market Law Review, vol. 44, no. 5, 2007, p. 1238.
  23. OK Osuji, ‘Business-to-consumer harassment, unfair commercial practices directive and the UK–A distorted picture of uniform harmonization?’, Journal of Consumer Policy, vol. 34, no. 4, 2011, p. 439.
  24. OK Osuji, ‘Business-to-consumer harassment, unfair commercial practices directive and the UK–A distorted picture of uniform harmonization?’, Journal of Consumer Policy, vol. 34, no. 4, 2011, p. 440.
  25. E Hall, G Howells & J Watson, ‘The consumer rights directive – an assessment of its contribution to the development of European consumer contract law’, European Review of Contract Law, vol. 8, no. 2, 2012, p. 139.
  26. P Rott, ‘Minimum harmonization for the completion of the internal market? The example of consumer sales law’, Common Market Law Review, vol. 40, no. 5, 2003, p. 1108.
  27. A Kur, ‘Harmonization of intellectual property law in Europe: the ECJ trade mark case law 2008-2012’, Common Market Law Review, vol. 50, no. 3, 2013, p. 774.
  28. A Kur, ‘Harmonization of intellectual property law in Europe: the ECJ trade mark case law 2008-2012’, Common Market Law Review, vol. 50, no. 3, 2013, p. 775.
  29. S Reinhard, ‘The right of withdrawal under the Consumer Rights Directive as a tool to protect consumers concluding a distance contract’, Computer Law and Security Review: The International Journal of Technology and Practice, vol. 29, n.d., p. 105.
  30. P Rott, ‘Minimum harmonization for the completion of the internal market? The example of consumer sales law’, Common Market Law Review, vol. 40, no. 5, 2003, p. 1109.
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