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newsThe Transparent Trap: Disclosing Information to Consumers conference


The University of Exeter, the Centre for the Study of European Contract Law, and the SRH Hochscule Berlin are organising a conference on uniform methods that may be used to assess the transparency of consumer information online. The conference will be held in Amsterdam on the 4-5th July 2019. A copy of the programme is available here.

The conference marks the culmination of a three year EU funded project called "The ABC of Online Disclosure Duties:Towards a More Uniform Assessment of the Transparency of Consumer Information in Europe."

When European consumers buy, e.g. a computer online, European legislation requires them to receive "clear and comprehensive" information about the trader's option to store, process and share their data (ePrivacy Directive). Subsequently, they need to receive "clear and comprehensible" information "in clear and intelligible language" on the purchase conditions, such as their right of withdrawal or the computer´s characteristics (Consumer Rights Directive). Moreover, if they purchase the computer on credit, they need to receive "clear and concise" information on the credit terms (Consumer Credit Directive). Although EU law requires information disclosures like these to be transparent, it does not establish what counts as clear, comprehensive, intelligible or concise online disclosure. As it provides no yardstick for assessing transparency, this leaves a gap that national enforcement authorities (NEA) may fill differently.

This research aims to develop European guidelines that NEA should apply to uniformly assess the transparency of disclosures, and the findings of the project will be discussed and disclosed at the conference. This will allow businesses across the EU to standardise and simplify their disclosures and inform consumers more effectively.

Any academics who are interested in European consumer law, or business professionals who are required to comply with these transparency standards, should register their interest for this conference, as it will provide them with the most up to date thinking on these issues, and methods that they may use to uniformly assess the disclosures that they are required to make to consumers. Further details, including how to register, are provided by opening this link.