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Distance marketing of financial services: consumer protection

 

SUMMARY OF:

Directive 2002/65/EC concerning the distance marketing of consumer financial services

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DIRECTIVE?

It establishes common rules for the marketing of financial services by suppliers to consumers in the European Union (EU), in order to enhance consumer protection.

KEY POINTS

Scope

The directive covers all financial services, including credit cards, investment funds, insurance and personal pension plans, that can be sold to consumers through distance-selling channels such as by telephone, fax and the internet.

The directive guarantees protection to the consumer, including:

  • an obligation on the supplier to provide consumers with comprehensive information before a contract is concluded;
  • the right of the consumer to withdraw from the contract within 14 days;
  • a ban on abusive marketing practices which try to oblige consumers to buy a service they have not requested (‘inertia’ selling);
  • rules to restrict other practices such as unsolicited phone calls and emails (cold calling and spamming);
  • appropriate sanctions by EU Member States on suppliers who fail to comply with this directive;
  • proper legal redress, including out-of-court settlement procedures for consumers whose rights are infringed.

The consumer rights directive – Directive 2011/83/EC (see summary) – regulates the distance selling to consumers of all other non-financial goods and services, replacing Directive 97/7/EC.

Review of the directive

The review of the directive was included in the 2020 commission work programme (Annex II – REFIT initiatives, ‘A New Push for European Democracy’). An evaluation of the directive was also published in 2020.

FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?

It has applied since 9 October 2002 and had to become law in the Member States by 9 October 2004.

BACKGROUND

For further information, see:

MAIN DOCUMENT

Directive 2002/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 September 2002 concerning the distance marketing of consumer financial services and amending Council Directives 90/619/EEC and directive 97/7/EC and 98/27/EC (OJ L 271, 9.10.2002, pp. 16–24).

Successive amendments to Directive 2002/65/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference purpose only.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Directive 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on consumer rights, amending Council Directive 93/13/EEC and Directive 1999/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Directive 85/577/EEC and Directive 97/7/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 304, 22.11.2011, pp. 64–88).

See consolidated version.

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament – Review of the distance marketing of consumer financial services Directive (2002/65/EC) (COM(2009) 626 final of 20.11.2009).

last update 14.02.2022

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