1.6. Commercial practices which do not affect the consumer's economic interests do not fall within the Directive's Scope

Article 1 of the Directive explicitly provides for the harmonisation of those practices "harming consumers' economic interests."

Where national rules aim at protecting interests which are not of an economic nature, such rules will not fall within the scope of the Directive. Therefore, the Directive does not affect the possibility for Member States to have additional and more restrictive rules regulating commercial practices for reasons of protection of the health and safety of consumers (see Article 3(3) of the Directive) or the protection of the environment.

In the same vein, national rules regulating commercial practices, including marketing and advertising, based on "taste and decency" grounds are not covered by the Directive. According to Recital 7, "[this Directive] does not address legal requirements related to taste and decency which vary widely among the Member States. Commercial practices such as, for example, commercial solicitations in the streets, may be undesirable in Member States for cultural reasons. Member States should accordingly be able to continue to ban commercial practices in their territory, in conformity with Community law, for reasons of taste and decency even where such practices do not limit consumers' freedom choice. Full account should be taken of the context of the individual case concerned in applying this Directive, in particular the general clauses thereof."

Therefore, national rules on commercial practices, including marketing and advertising, regulating the protection of human dignity, the prevention of sexual, racial and religious discrimination, or the depiction of nudity, violence, anti-social behaviour are not covered by the Directive.

In light of the above, the following examples fall outside the scope of the Directive:

Footnotes

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