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EU: Commission publishes report on enforcement and modernization of consumer protection rules

On June 18, 2024, the European Commission published a report on the implementation of the Directive on the better enforcement and modernization of Union consumer protection rules.

In particular, the report highlights its concern with Directive (EU) 2019/2161 of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 93/13/EEC and Directives 98/6/EC, 2005/29/EC, and 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the better enforcement and modernization of Union consumer protection rules (the Modernization Directive). The report clarifies the Modernization Directive amendments, including:

  • prohibitions on unfair online practices such as advertising and paid placements in search results;
  • new transparency requirements about the ranking of online search results and whether a contract is concluded in an online marketplace; and
  • the extension of the Consumer Rights Directive (CRD) to free digital services for which consumers provide personal data rather than monetary compensation.

Notably, the report found that transparency about search results required improvement for compliance with the Modernization Directive, and that online search providers that include advertisements in search results must ensure they are clearly visible and easily distinguishable from other search results. The report noted that in the case of Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) and Very Large Online Search Engines (VLOSEs), the Digital Services Act (DSA) requires the availability of at least one non-personalized recommender system option.

In addition, the report determined that the online marketplaces have implemented further information on the status of third-party suppliers, but that consumers are still unsure as to the identity of sellers and arrangements for the transaction.

Finally, the report detailed that although several EU Member States have implemented new options for consumers to withdraw consent in transactions relating to the provision of personal data in transposing the CRD into national legislation, there is no measurement of the impact of such practices.

You can read the report here.