In the EU there is a huge domain of rules in national law, often inspired by or resulting from EU law, concerning special rights of consumers. The general rationale of known national and EU regulations is that consumers need to be protected from companies with more resources and economic information in order to enable the consumer to enforce private law claims more effectively. Consumers’ claims are typically for a small amount, the costs concerning their validation and enforcement often exceed the sum of the claim itself. In the area of insolvency specific consumer protection legislation is a rarity. A specific rule in the travel sector is a well-known exclusion: the organizer and/or retailer party to a contract shall provide sufficient evidence of security for the refund of money paid over and for the repatriation of the consumer in the event of insolvency.
In this Working Party we are discussing which elements should be taken into account if and when the European Commission should embark on a project to protect the consumer better (than an ordinary unsecured creditor) in case of insolvency by its counterparty, especially in cases where the consumer makes a purchase in a supermarket, via a website or in a shop.