Article 186: Action by the Commission to Provide Support in the Promotion of Consumer Welfare and Protection of Consumer Interests

  1.         The Commission shall, for the purpose of providing support to the Member States in the enhancement of consumer education and consumer welfare:

(a) promote in the Community the elaboration, publication and adoption of fair contract terms between suppliers and consumers of goods and services produced or traded in the CSME;

(b) take such measures as it considers necessary to ensure that the Member States discourage and eliminate unfair trading practices, including misleading or deceptive conduct, false advertising, bait advertising, referral selling and pyramid selling;

(c) promote in the Member States product safety standards as part of a programme of consumer education in order to assist the consumer to make informed choices concerning the purchase of consumer goods;

(d) keep under review the carrying on of commercial activities in the Member States which relate to goods supplied to consumers in such States or produced with a view to their being so supplied, or which relate to services supplied for consumers with a view to identifying practices which may adversely affect the interests of consumers;

(e) educate and guide consumers generally in the practical resolution of their problems and in the best use of their income and credit, using such techniques and means of communications as are available;

(f) confer, on request, with consumer organisations of the Member States and offer such advice and information as may be appropriate for the resolution of their consumer problems;

(g) establish  the  necessary co-ordination with  government agencies and departments for the effective education and guidance of consumers having regard to the programmes, activities and resources of each agency  or department;

(h) conduct research and collect and collate information in respect of matters affecting the interests of consumers;

(i) compile, evaluate and publicise enactments for the protection of consumers in such States and recommend to COTED the enactment of legislation considered necessary or desirable for the protection of consumers;

(j) promote, after consultation with the competent standardising agency and other public and private agencies or organisations, the establishment of quality standards for consumer products;

(k) promote  and  monitor,  after  consultation  with  relevant  agencies  and departments of Government, the enforcement of legislation affecting the interests of consumers, including, but not limited to, legislation relating to weights and measures, food and drugs adulteration, the control of standards and price controls;

(l)         make recommendations to COTED for the enactment of legislation by the Member States for the effective enforcement of the rights of consumers.

  1.         The Commission shall:

(a) draw to the attention of COTED business conduct by enterprises which impacts adversely on consumer welfare;

(b) collaborate with competent Organs of the Community to promote consumer education and consumer welfare.


Article 185: Protection of Consumer Interests in the Community

The Member States shall enact harmonised legislation to provide, inter alia:

(a) for the fundamental terms of a contract and the implied obligations of parties to a contract for the supply of goods or services;

(b) for the prohibition of the inclusion of unconscionable terms in contracts for the sale and supply of goods or services to consumers;

(c) for the prohibition of unfair trading practices, particularly such practices relating to misleading or deceptive or fraudulent conduct;

(d) for the prohibition of production and supply of harmful and defective goods and for the adoption of measures to prevent the supply or sale of such goods including measures requiring the removal  of defective goods from the market;

(e) that  the  provision  of  services  is  in  compliance  with  the  applicable regulations, standards, codes and licensing requirements;

(f) that goods supplied to consumers are labelled in accordance with standards and specifications prescribed by the competent authorities;

(g) that hazardous or other goods whose distribution and consumption are regulated by  law are  sold or  supplied in  accordance with applicable regulations;

(h) that goods or materials, the production or use of which is likely to result in potentially harmful environmental effects, are labelled and supplied in accordance with applicable standards and regulations;

(i) that producers and suppliers are liable for defects in goods and for violation of product standards and consumer safety standards which occasion loss or damage to consumers;

(j) that violations of consumer safety standards by producers or suppliers are appropriately sanctioned and relevant civil or criminal defences to such violations are available to defendants.


Article 184: Promotion of Consumer Interests in the Community


  1.         The Member States shall promote the interests of consumers in the Community by appropriate measures that:

(a) provide for the production and supply of goods and the provision of services to ensure the protection of life, health and safety of consumers;

(b) ensure that goods supplied and services provided in the CSME satisfy regulations, standards, codes and licensing requirements established or approved by competent bodies in the Community;

(c) provide, where the regulations, standards, codes and licensing requirements referred to in paragraph (b) do not exist, for their establishment and implementation;

(d) encourage high levels of ethical conduct for those engaged in the production and distribution of goods and services to consumers;

(e) encourage fair and effective competition in order to provide consumers with greater choice among goods and services at lowest cost;

(f) promote the provision of adequate information to consumers to enable the making of informed choices;

(g) ensure the availability of adequate information and education programmes for consumers and suppliers;

(h) protect consumers by prohibiting discrimination against producers and suppliers of goods produced in the Community and against service providers who are nationals of other Member States of the Community;

(i)         encourage the development of independent consumer organisations;

(j)         provide adequate and effective redress for consumers.

  1. For the purpose of this Part, “consumer” means any person:

(a) to whom goods or services are supplied or intended to be supplied in the course of business carried on by a supplier or potential supplier; and

(b) who does not receive the goods or services in the course of a business carried on by him.