Brussels, 30 September 2010
Consumer rights: Commission requests from Portugal and Slovenia to comply with the rules concerning the distance marketing of financial services
Today the European Commission decided to send reasoned opinions to Portugal and Slovenia for inadequate transposition of Directive 2002/65/EC concerning the distance marketing of consumer financial services into their national law. The Commission may decide to take the above-mentioned Member States to Court if action to ensure compliance is not taken.
Directive 2002/65/EC concerns the distance marketing of consumer financial services grants consumers, amongst other things, the right to receive certain pre-contractual information, as well as the right to withdraw from a contract with a service provider within 14 calendar days. The European Commission considers that Portugal and Slovenia have failed in their national laws transposing this Directive to sufficiently protect these consumer rights.
How are Portugal and Slovenia not respecting the rules?
It appears that when a Portuguese consumer withdraws from a distance contract of a given financial service to which another distance contract has been attached, he might still be bound by the additional contract. However, the Directive provides that the additional distance contract will be cancelled automatically in this case.
In Slovenia it is not guaranteed that a consumer who wishes to conclude a distance contract for the supply of financial services is provided with all the information foreseen by the Directive. For example, the consumer might not obtain: i) information on potential rights to terminate the contract early or unilaterally; ii) information concerning the competent court, and, iii) information on the total price to be paid for the financial service where the conclusion of a contract is initiated over the telephone. Furthermore, Slovenian law permits financial service providers to give only limited pre-contractual information to the consumer without having the consumer's agreement that this is sufficient. This is not allowed under the Directive. In addition, it is not guaranteed under Slovenian law that a consumer who wishes to agree or object to the use of certain means of distance communication can do this free of charge, as provided for under the Directive.
What are the next steps?
The two Member States concerned have two months to comply with the reasoned opinions. If the Member States concerned do not comply, or if the replies are not satisfactory, the Commission may bring the matter before the Court of Justice of the EU.
For more information on the infringement procedure, please see: