Who Does What in Consumer Law? A Search for Criteria for Centralised Lawmaking

Published in: B. Akkermans et al (eds.), Who Does What? On the allocation of regulatory competences in European Private Law, Cambridge-Antwerp 2015, pp. 97-123

Maastricht European Private Law Institute Working Paper 2014/12

25 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2014 Last revised: 18 Jul 2015

See all articles by William Bull

William Bull

Maastricht University

Jiangqiu Ge

Maastricht European Private Law Institute (M-EPLI)

Catalina Goanta

Maastricht European Private Law Institute; Maastricht University - Faculty of Law

Mark T. Kawakami

Maastricht University Faculty of Law; Maastricht University

Jan M. Smits

Maastricht University Faculty of Law - Maastricht European Private Law Institute (M-EPLI)

Date Written: June 9, 2014

Abstract

This contribution critically assesses the present distribution of competences in the area of consumer law. According to Art. 4 TFEU, consumer protection is a shared competence of both the European Union and the member states. Despite the apparent success of European consumer law, it is investigated to what extent consumer protection should indeed be a matter for both geographical levels of government. To this end, the starting presumption is that national rules should govern this field because of the diversity that they can protect. The three arguments presented in this sense relate to the economics of federalism, reducing monopolist behavior and experimenting with diversity. Subsequently, two main criteria are proposed which legitimise centralised rule-making: fragmentation (including consumer confidence and novelty as determining factors) and permeability (including negative externalities and race to the bottom as factors).

This framework is subsequently applied to two case studies. In case of doorstep selling, the criteria for centralised lawmaking are not fulfilled, and thus centralised action is not justified. However, not the same can be said about Internet shopping, which is considered as a field where the criteria are met. This prompts the need for minimum-harmonisation, combined with a European trustmark.

Keywords: European private law, Distribution of competences, Doorstep selling, Online shopping, Trustmarks

Suggested Citation

Bull, William and Ge, Jiangqiu and Goanta, Catalina and Kawakami, Mark T. and Smits, Jan M., Who Does What in Consumer Law? A Search for Criteria for Centralised Lawmaking (June 9, 2014). Published in: B. Akkermans et al (eds.), Who Does What? On the allocation of regulatory competences in European Private Law, Cambridge-Antwerp 2015, pp. 97-123; Maastricht European Private Law Institute Working Paper 2014/12. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2447597 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2447597

William Bull

Maastricht University ( email )

Faculty of Law
Maastricht European Private Law Institute (M-EPLI)
Maastricht, 6200MD
Netherlands

Jiangqiu Ge

Maastricht European Private Law Institute (M-EPLI) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, NL-6200 MD
Netherlands

Catalina Goanta

Maastricht European Private Law Institute ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, NL-6200 MD
Netherlands

Maastricht University - Faculty of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200
Netherlands

Mark T. Kawakami

Maastricht University Faculty of Law ( email )

Bouillonstraat 1-3
Maastricht, 6211 LH
Netherlands
630765612 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/mark.kawakami

Maastricht University ( email )

Bouillonstraat 1-3
Maastricht, 6211 LH
Netherlands
630765612 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/mark.kawakami

Jan M. Smits (Contact Author)

Maastricht University Faculty of Law - Maastricht European Private Law Institute (M-EPLI) ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, NL-6200 MD
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.jansmits.eu

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