2.1.1. Definitions and general considerations

The Directive's general provisions on misleading and aggressive practices (Articles 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9) cover unfair commercial practices which are capable of distorting the consumers' economic behaviour.

According to Article 2 (e) of the Directive material distortion of the consumer's behaviour means:

"...to appreciably impair the consumer's ability to make an informed decision, thereby causing the consumer to take a transactional decision that he would not have taken otherwise;"

To materially distort the consumer's economic behaviour means that a commercial practice impairs the average consumer's ability to make an informed decision and, in addition, that such impairment is significant enough to change the decisions the average consumer makes.

The concept of transactional decision is crucial in applying the material distortion test to real cases and it is defined in Article 2 (k) of the Directive:

" 'transactional decision' means any decision taken by a consumer concerning whether, how and on what terms to purchase, make payment in whole or in part for, retain or dispose of a product or to exercise a contractual right in relation to the product, whether the consumer decides to act or to refrain from acting;"

The wording used by the Directive in Art 2 (k) ("any decision...") suggests that the definition should be interpreted in a broad manner and that the concept of transactional decision should cover a wide range of decisions made by the consumer in relation to a product or a service.


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Links to articles of the Directive