Fighting unfair contract terms: Commission issues guidance to better protect consumers


The European Commission adopted today a guidance note on unfair contract terms. This guidance should ensure that consumer associations and legal practitioners, including judges, will be better equipped to protect EU consumers from unfair contract terms. Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová said: “Every time a consumer buys a product or a service from a professional trader, they enter into a contract. Contracts must be transparent and must not give traders unfair advantages over consumers. The new guidance notice will be a valuable tool for consumer right defenders and legal practitioners.” The guidance note is based on the rich amount of case law of the European Court of Justice, referring to existing rulings on unfair terms in mortgage credit contracts, in loans taken out in foreign currencies, as well as in mortgage enforcement that affect a high number of consumers in the EU.As a complement to the guidance note, European businesses organisations have drawn up recommendations on how mandatory consumer information as well as terms and conditions can be presented to consumers in a more user-friendly and transparent way. Both initiatives follow up on the REFIT Fitness Check of EU consumer and marketing law, as announced in the Commission’s Communication on a New Deal for Consumers.