Home Retail banking Customers Online banking Directive on the distance marketing and financial services  


21 may 2003

Directive on the distance marketing and financial services

With the euro making cross-border comparisons easier, the number of financial products (consumer credit, life insurance, etc.) offered to the French population by European banks by post, telephone or the Internet, is likely to increase.


Against this back-drop, consumers must benefit from the highest possible level of legal security.

Consequently, in May 2002, the European Council and Parliament adopted a directive concerning the relations between banking and financial institutions and their customers via remote distribution channels. The directive does not require full harmonisation, which was supported by French banks, but it does preserve the essential elements:

the directive left in place the reference to the Rome Convention*, whereby the law of the consumer's country of residence is applied in the event of solicitation.

This excludes systematic recourse to the legislation of the country of origin. Host country legislation, which is more favourable for French consumers, can be applied;

the other key article in the directive states that any pre-contractual information is subject to the same laws as the contractual information in order

to avoid the final contract harbouring any surprises for the consumer.

* The Rome Convention entitles parties to choose freely the legislation that governs the contract. Where no explicit clauses exist, the legislation generally applied is that of the country of origin, i.e. the country of the service provider, but specific consumer protection rules have been defined where clients are solicited in their country of residence.

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