2.6.3. Invitation to purchase in the context of misleading omissions

The Directive employs the notion of invitation to purchase in the context of Article 7[62], which concerns misleading practices by omission and which establishes, in very general terms, a positive obligation on traders to provide all the information which the average consumer needs to make an informed choice (i.e. the material information). Given that articles 7(1),(2) and (3) do not define in explicit terms the concept of material information, national authorities and courts will need to use their judgement in assessing whether key items of information have been omitted, taking into account all features and circumstances of a commercial practice and the limitations of the communication medium.

In contrast, when it comes to the invitation to purchase, Article 7(4) lists a number of information requirements which should be considered as essential (material), to ensure the maximum amount of legal certainty at this critical point. These include, inter alia, the product characteristics, the trader's geographical address and identity, and the total price.[63]

The invitation to purchase is a critical moment in the consumer's decision making. By its nature it is a direct and immediate form of product promotion, triggering a more impulsive reaction from consumers and thus exposing them to higher risks.

The aim of the provision in Article 7(4) is therefore to make sure that, whenever traders make commercial offers to consumers, they make available simultaneously, in an intelligible and unambiguous manner, enough information to enable the consumer to take an informed decision to purchase and do not mislead the consumer by the omission of important information.

Footnotes

[62] The Directive makes reference to the invitation to purchase also in Annex I, n. 5 and 6.

[63] See recital 14 which clarifies further that "In respect of omissions, this Directive sets out a limited number of key items of information which the consumer needs to make an informed transactional decision..."

Links to articles of the Directive

Keywords