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Directive 97/7/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 1997 on the protection of consumers in respect of distance contracts (Distance Selling Directive), Off. J.L. 144, at 19-27 (June 4, 1997) (full-text).
The Directive applies to distance contracts between a professional and a consumer, for the provision of a service or goods. A distance contract may be concluded by any means (by telephone, e-mail, catalogue, etc.) which do not require the simultaneous physical presence of the parties to the contract.
The professional must provide clear and comprehensible information to the consumer, in good time prior to the conclusion of the contract. They must give due regard to the principles of good faith in commercial transactions and the protection of persons who are unable to give their consent (such as minors).
"Distance communication" includes traditional means of distance communication but also covers more technologically advanced means of distance communication such as teleshopping, mobile phone commerce (m-commerce), and the use of the internet (e-commerce).
The Directive provides a number of rights for consumers in order to ensure consumer protection throughout the EU, including provision of comprehensive information before the purchase, right of withdrawal, protection from unsolicited selling and protection from fraudulent use of payment cards.
The Directive will be repealed once the rules of the Directive on Consumer Rights will have to be applied in all Member States, i.e. by June 13, 2014. The Directive on Consumer Rights incorporates the provisions of the Distance Selling Directive.
- "Overview" and "Gambling" sections: Staff Working Document Accompanying the Green Paper on On-line Gambling in the Internal Market, at 16.