France
Direct Marketing

Discusses the state of direct marketing and what channels are available for companies to use direct marketing.

Last published date: 2019-10-13
The EU has yet to adopt legislation harmonizing the direct-selling of consumer products.  However, there is a wide-range of EU legislation that impacts the direct marketing sector. Compliance requirements are stringent for marketing and sales to private consumers. Companies need to focus, in particular, on the clarity and completeness of the information they provide to consumers prior to purchase and on their approaches to collecting and using customer data. The following gives a brief overview of the most important provisions flowing from EU-wide rules on distance-selling and on-line commerce.  In addition, it is important for exporters relying on a direct-selling business model to ensure they comply with member state requirements.
 
Processing Customer Data
The EU has strict laws governing the protection of personal data, including the use of such data in the context of direct marketing activities.  For more information on these rules, please see the Data Privacy section above.
 
Distance Selling Rules
In 2011, the EU overhauled its consumer protection legislation and merged several existing rules into a single rulebook - “the Consumer Rights Directive.” The provisions of this Directive have been enforced since June 13, 2014. The Directive contains provisions on core information to be provided by traders prior to the conclusion of consumer contracts.  It also regulates the right of withdrawal, includes rules on the costs for the use of means of payment and bans pre-ticked boxes.
 
Alternative Dispute Resolution
In 2013, the EU adopted rules on Alternative Dispute Resolution which provide consumers the right to turn to quality alternative dispute resolution entities for all types of contractual disputes including purchases made online or offline, domestically or across borders.  A specific Online Dispute Resolution Regulation, operational in January 2016, sets up an EU-wide online platform to handle consumer disputes that arise from online transactions.
 
New Legislation
In December 2015, the European Commission released a package of two draft Directives respectively on “contracts for the supply of digital content” and another on “contracts for the online and other distance sales of goods.”  This package addresses the legal fragmentation and lack of clear contractual rights for faulty digital content and distance selling across the EU.  The package would only address B2C contracts, although its draft scope uses a very broad definition of both digital content (including music, movies, apps, games, films, social media, cloud storage services, broadcasts of sport events, visual modeling files for 3D printing) and distance selling goods so as to cover Internet of Things (such as connected households’ appliances and toys).  It could also apply to transactions whether in the context of a monetary transaction or in exchange of (personal) consumer data.  Healthcare, gambling and financial services are excluded from the proposal. 
The package is currently under scrutiny at both the European Parliament and Council. Its adoption is expected in the course of 2018.

Key Links:
Consumer Affairs Homepage
Consumer Rights