1.9.3. Relationship between the UCP Directive and Community sectoral legislation

The Directive is the general law governing unfair commercial practices in business-to-consumer transactions. It covers all B2C commercial practices, unless the Directive explicitly stipulates otherwise such as in the case of conditions of establishment or of authorisation regimes (see Article 3(5)).

Where sectoral legislation is in place and its provisions overlap with the Directive's general provisions, the corresponding provisions of the lex specialis will prevail. Article 3(4) of the Directive clarifies that "in case of conflict between the provisions of this Directive and other Community rules regulating specific aspects of unfair commercial practices, the latter shall prevail and apply to those specific aspects".

Often, such conflicts arise from the fact that the lex specialis contains more detailed pre-contractual information requirements, or stricter rules on the way the information is presented to consumers (see Recital 10 of the Directive).

For example, the Air Services Regulation[29] contains specific provisions on the price information to be made available to the general public. According to Article 23 of the Regulation, in addition to the final price, which must include all applicable taxes, charges, surcharges and fees, air carriers should also provide a breakdown of the final price. Therefore, in respect of pre-contractual information regarding prices for air fares, these more specific provisions will apply.

However, the Directive complements these sectoral provisions and fills any remaining gaps in the protection against unfair commercial practices. In respect of air fares, for example, the Directive's provisions come into play to prohibit commercial practices which are likely to deceive the average consumer (such as advertising and marketing of air fares), and practices which constitute aggressive conduct (such as onerous and disproportionate non-contractual barriers imposed on consumers who wish to exercise a contractual right to terminate a contract). Furthermore, the Directive's provisions also complement the provisions of the Air Services Regulation in relation to the information on prices, and require, for example, the disclosure of postal charges, where applicable (see Article 7(4)(c) of the Directive).


[29] Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 September 2008 on common rules on the operation of air services in the Community.

Links to articles of the Directive