On 21 November 2022, the European Commission held the second edition of the Annual Digital Consumer Event - a dedicated event that allows to go deeper into the digital aspects of consumer policy.
The discussions at the event demonstrated the different perspectives that diverse stakeholders (academia, consumer and business organisations, traders, enforcement authorities) have on the role of consumer law in the digital transition.
It also helped to see whether the Commission is on the right track in terms of identifying the problems that should be further examined in the Fitness Check on digital fairness. There were calls for regulatory intervention in the form of a new “Digital Fairness Act”, which could fill any remaining gaps of consumer protection after the adoption of recent legislation in the digital area, such as the Digital Services Act, Digital Markets Act and others.
The discussions also underlined the importance of effective enforcement, which could be enhanced by the introduction of a reversed burden of proof, and cooperation with market players, including in the context of the Product Safety Pledge.
Overall, participants acknowledged the key role that EU consumer law plays in the digital transition and recognised the importance of preserving its principle-based, safety-net nature, while also ensuring that companies have more legal certainty about their obligations and that the most harmful practices are tackled directly, including through new prohibitions.
- consumer policy
- 21 Nov 2022,
10:00 AM - 10:10 AM CET
Welcome and introduction by the Moderator
- 10:10 AM - 10:30 AM CET
Keynote addressby Didier REYNDERS (Commissioner for Justice)
- 10:30 AM - 11:00 AM CET
Involving consumer organisations with the voluntary cooperation mechanism under the Product Safety Pledge – launch of an innovative Pilot project
- 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM CET
Panel 1: Online consumer vulnerabilities: shedding light on dark patterns, personalisation and structural asymmetries
What problems arise from the distortion of the consumer’s freedom of choice and conduct due to practices such as dark patterns and the personalisation of commercial communications? What role does consumer law have in addressing structural asymmetries in digital markets? Is the existing EU legal framework, including the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, still fit for purpose?
- 12:30 PM - 01:30 PM CET
- 01:30 PM - 03:00 PM CET
Panel 2: Online consumer purchases: challenges raised by digital subscriptions, virtual items and the addictive use of digital products
What problems are consumers facing when signing up for and cancelling digital subscription services or when buying virtual items in apps? Can consumer law alleviate concerns about the addictive use of digital products? Is the existing EU legal framework, including the Consumer Rights Directive, still fit for purpose?
- 03:00 PM - 03:15 PM CET
- 03:15 PM - 04:45 PM CET
Panel 3: Online consumer contracts: mapping unfair contract terms and the lack of transparency
Which contract terms are unfairly distorting the balance between the rights and obligations of consumers and online traders? How to ensure that consumers receive useful and clear information and that they can consent freely? Is the existing EU legal framework, including the Unfair Contract Terms Directive, still fit for purpose?
- 04:45 PM - 05:00 PM CET
Conclusions and closing remarks
- Who should attend
- Consumer associations, business associations, national administrations and academics
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