European Commission proposes new consumer deal on representative consumer actions

Today the European Commission has announced its Draft Directive on representative actions, which aims give consumer groups the right to seek compensation on behalf of large numbers of customers.

The Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker announced a ‘new deal for consumers’ last year, following concerns that EU consumer law is under-enforced and more power is needed.

Commenting on the news, Partner Anna Morfey says:

“The draft Directive is a welcome step forward for consumers across Europe.  It has been clear for some time that the absence of a collective actions regime across the EU means insufficient protection is afforded to groups of consumers who have suffered harm, and the draft Directive seeks to address that gap.  

But there is more that can be done in several respects and our concern is that this draft is too restrictive both in terms of the actions that can be brought and the types of claimant group that can bring them.

In particular, the draft Directive does not address harm to businesses that have been affected by infringements. This is an important issue in circumstances where corporates are affected as well as individuals – such as in the case of the VW Emissions scandal or the Trucks cartel. They too should have access to all options to seek compensation when they have suffered harm.

We would also like to see the Directive do more to clarify the position on litigation funding.  Whilst we agree that consumers must of course be protected from abusive litigation, the Directive should not have the effect of reducing financing options for claimants or introducing additional uncertainty and bureaucracy in relation to litigation finance – which is often critical for claimants to get even the most meritorious of cases off the ground.”

The full details about the New Deals for Consumers.

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