Consumer protection: EU rules on the protection of consumers’ collective interests enter into application

This Sunday, 25 June 2023, marks the entry into application of the Representative Actions Directive.

The Directive allows consumers from across the EU to claim their rights not only individually, but also through collective actions. Qualified entities designated by the Member States, such as consumer organisations, will be able to launch legal actions against traders’ illegal practices on behalf of consumers.

This will allow consumers harmed by an illegal commercial practice to seek compensation, replacement or repair collectively. Representative actions concern consumers’ interests in many areas of law and economic sectors, including data protectionfinancial services, travel, tourism, energy or telecommunications.

Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, said: “This significant law empowers consumers who have been victims of illegal commercial practices to enforce their rights and seek justice collectively. This principle, established in the EU acquis for the first time, is aimed to strengthen the consumers and improve the level playing field to deter perpetrators of such illegal practices. We expect all Member States to swiftly designate the entities that will be qualified to bring forward such actions.

Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, said: “In the European Union, we believe that achieving a high level of consumer protection is a fundamental right. This Directive is an essential tool to enforce this right. Consumers have now the possibility to join their forces in single, EU-wide, collective actions to ensure that all businesses, including the largest ones, respect their rights.”

To support the good functioning of representative actions across the EU, the Commission launched ‘EC-REACT’ – the Representative Actions Collaboration Tool – an online platform allowing the exchange of information across the EU on representative actions.

Through this platform, Member States representatives, judges, and designated qualified entities can cooperate to better enforce EU consumer rights. More information on representative actions is available here.