About the UCP
What is an "unfair commercial practice"?
A commercial practice is an activity (such as advertising and marketing) linked to the promotion, sale or supply of a product to consumers. A commercial practice is unfair if it is deemed to be unacceptable with regards to the consumer, according to specified criteria. See "Is it unfair?" and "The Black List" for further information.
Why do we need a Directive on unfair commercial practices?
The Directive was passed to strengthen the confidence of European consumers in cross-border transactions. Evidence showed that citizens were unsure if their rights would be adequately protected when they made international purchases. As a result, they were afraid to make cross-border purchases, even if the product or service was cheaper, better or just what they were looking for. In short, European citizens weren't taking full advantage of the European Internal Market.
How do I benefit from the Directive?
By replacing the existing multiple volumes of national legislation and court rulings with a single set of common rules, the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive clarifies consumers' rights and simplifies cross-border trade. As of the implementation of the Directive, the same bad practices will be banned throughout Europe and the same criteria will apply to determine whether a practice is unfair or not.
Consumers enjoy the same protection against unfair practices whether they are buying from their corner shop or from a website based in another country.