On 12 May 2016, the European Commission ordered a public consultation for the Fitness Check of EU consumer and marketing law.

The intention behind the fitness check is to assess whether a number of Directives are fit for purpose. The key Directives relevant to retail finance include:

  • Unfair Contract Terms Directive, which prohibits unfair standard terms in contracts.
  • Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, which targets misleading practices by traders during the entire consumer-business transaction e.g. pre and post-sale issues.
  • Injunctions Directive, which is designed to help enforce consumer protection rules in case of infringement at any stage of the consumer-business transaction.

These Directives will be assessed against the criteria of effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and added value. Outcomes of the fitness check will feed into new policy initiatives as well as influencing other Commission-proposed Directives, in particular those relating to online sales and long distance sale of goods.

The fitness check consists of a questionnaire with multiple choice questions. There are two types of online questionnaires, a short version for consumers (EU citizens) and businesses and a longer version for authorities and associations, although consumers and businesses can elect to complete the longer version if requested. Responses are requested by 2 September 2016.