SRH Berlin University of Applied Sciences

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. This will allow businesses across the EU to standardise and simplify their disclosures and inform consumers more effectively. Our research team will draft these guidelines on the basis of insights gained from conducting:

  • comparative legal research illustrating when a given disclosure is currently assessed as transparent by NEA;
  • empirical legal research determining the desired and applied criteria for the transparency's assessment.

Duration of the Project:

October 2016 - October 2021

Project video

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