Regulatory Techniques in Consumer Protection: A Critique of European Consumer Contract Law
Harvard Law School
University of Chicago Law School
June 1, 2012
Common Market Law Review, Vol. 50, p. 109, 2013
NYU Law and Economics Research Paper No. 12-12
University of Chicago Institute for Law & Economics Olin Research Paper No. 598
This Article classifies the consumer protection techniques that European contract law employs into four categories: Mandatory arrangements; disclosure; regulation of entry to and exit from contracts; and pro-buyer default rules and contract interpretation. It argues that these techniques are far less likely to succeed than advocates, including the European Commission, believe, and that they may bring about unintended consequences and hurt consumers. The techniques and their limits are illustrated through a study of the proposed Common European Sales Law (CESL). The Article argues that the ambitious pursuit of consumer protection goals is also likely to interfere with the other main goals of European contract law: harmonizing the laws of member states, encouraging cross border trade, and improving consumers’ access to markets.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 18Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: May 16, 2012 ; Last revised: July 13, 2013
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