1.3. Does the concept of the commercial practices cover situations of traders buying products from consumers?

Certain traders may, in the course of their professional activity, purchase products from consumers. This is the case for example of car dealers, antique shops and retailers of second-hand goods.

According to the definition provided in the Directive, commercial practices only cover practices "directly connected with the promotion, sale or supply of a product to consumers". The reverse situation where traders purchase products from consumers does not fall within the scope of the Directive.

However, there are cases where the link between the purchase of a product by the trader from consumers and the promotion, sale or supply of a (different) product to consumers can be established. For instance, in the motor vehicle trade, it is common for consumers to enter trade-in agreements which see the trader purchasing a used vehicle from the consumer who in turn buys a vehicle from the trader. In such cases, the commercial practice is a two-step action: the purchase of the vehicle by the trader would not occur independently of the sale of a car to the consumer and the practice as a whole falls therefore within the scope of the Directive.

In relation to those cases where such a link cannot be established Member States remain free, in any event, to extend the scope of the Directive through national law or jurisprudence to cover consumer-to-business transactions, as long as this complies with EU law.

For example, the UK guidelines on the UK Regulations implementing the Directive[8] provide the following example: "a trader who is an expert on Chinese pottery tells a consumer that a Ming vase she wants to sell to him is a fake. If it is not the case, the statement would be likely to amount to a misleading action".


[8] Consumer protection from unfair trading - Guidance on the UK Regulations (May 2008) implementing the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive - Office of Fair Trading/ Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

Links to articles of the Directive