The Omnibus Directive, also known as the “Enforcement and Modernisation Directive” (Directive (EU) 2019/2161), aims to strengthen consumer protection by modernising existing EU consumer legislation and enhancing enforcement measures.
The most significant change under the Omnibus Directive concerns the introduction of GDPR-style fines for certain breaches of consumer protection rules (maximum fines must be at least 4% of the trader’s annual turnover or €2 million where the turnover cannot be calculated). Furthermore, new rules and concepts are introduced, including rules on search engines, online reviews and online marketplaces, as well as an expansion of existing consumer law provisions to cover digital content and digital services, including those provided in exchange for personal data.
The informal name "Omnibus Directive" (Latin for "all" or "for all") is a result of the fact that the Directive amends almost all existing EU consumer law directives, namely:
- The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (2005/29/EC);
- The Consumer Rights Directive (2011/83/EU);
- The Unfair Contract Terms Directive (93/13/EEC); and
- The Price Indications Directive (98/6/EU).
The provisions of the Omnibus Directive are intended to fully harmonise consumer protection rules in EU Member States to a large extent. However, the Directive leaves some leeway for Member States to go beyond the provisions and introduce stricter rules. Member States, for example, have the option to provide for higher maximum fines for breaches of consumer protection rules as well as the option to introduce additional transparency obligations for providers of online marketplaces.
You can see details on the national transpositions (including any derogations) for a selection of EU Member States in our Tracker.
For more information, feel free to get in touch with our experts in each Member State.
Consumer facing businesses should also be aware of the Collective Redress Directive, which will allow collective actions to be brought by a representative body against businesses if they breach EU laws intended to protect consumers. This includes laws in a broad range of areas such as data protection, travel and tourism, financial services, energy and telecommunications. EU member states must put in place, by 25 December 2022, at least one effective procedural mechanism that allows such actions to be brought. Click here to access our Consumer Class Actions page where you can find links to a tracker, which contains information about the current implementation status of the Directive across Member States together with a map, which provides a snapshot of the currently available collective action mechanisms in major European jurisdictions (EU and non-EU).
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