2.6.2. Definition

The Directive leaves traders the choice as to whether to include the price in their advertising. Under Article 2(i), a commercial communication or advertisement containing the characteristics of a product and a price should be qualified as an "invitation to purchase" in the sense of the Directive.

The notion of "invitation to purchase" implies that traders have to respect a number of specific information requirements listed in Article 7(4) (described in paragraphs 2.6.3. and 2.6.4. below).

The "characteristics of the product" requirement, mentioned in Article 2(i) of the Directive is invariably present as soon as there is verbal or visual reference to the product. A different interpretation could incentivise traders to provide vague product descriptions or omit information in their commercial offers in order to circumvent the information requirements provided for by Article 7(4).

The last part of the definition in Article 2(i) of the Directive ("thereby enables the consumer to make a purchase") does not require that the commercial communication provides the consumer with a mechanism to purchase (e.g. a phone number or a coupon). It means that the information given in the product marketing must be sufficient to enable the consumer to take a purchasing decision (i.e. to decide whether to purchase that product for that price or not).

The following will normally be considered invitations to purchase where the price and the characteristics of the product are given[61]:

Based on Article 2 (i), a commercial communication or advertisement which does not include the price shall not be considered as an "invitation to purchase" in the sense of the Directive.

A clear example of commercial communications which are not invitations to purchase would be advertisements promoting a trader's 'brand' rather than any particular product (i.e. brand advertising). Other examples include the promotion of a specific product or a service, through an exhaustive description of its nature, characteristics and benefits, without making reference to the price.


[61] See also Guidance on the UK Regulation (May 2008) implementing the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, 2008 Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading, Office of Fair Trading, 2008 (http://www.oft.gov.uk/advice_and_resources/small_businesses/competing/protection) page 36.

Links to articles of the Directive