Editors: James Devenney and Mel Kenney
Publisher:  Cambridge University Press – 462 pagers
Book Review by: Sonu Chandiram

The European Union has over the years, taken strong actions against U.S. tech giants for what it calls ‘antitrust behavior’. Recently, the EU’s ‘competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager singled out Amazon, whose 2019 revenues were over $280 billion, for taking advantage of data it gathered from its own independent sellers on its e-commerce platform to compete against them in selling the same products they sell, at lower prices.

The Associated Press published these two reports on November 10, 2020 from London:

“The EU Commission files charges against Amazon accusing it of using internal data from independent merchants to unfairly compete against them with its own products.”

“The commission also opens a second investigation into whether the e-commerce giant gives preference to some products and sellers who use its logistics and delivery systems.”

The EU has been one of the most active international organizations in recent decades, in safeguarding the rights of European consumers. The editors of, and contributors of content to this volume lay out some of the most pressing issues facing those consumers today.

We figured that the way we can provide you an overview of what you will find in this timely and relevant book is to initially reproduce its table of contents:

  1. Part IConsumer Protection Strategies and Mechanisms in the European Union
    1. From minimum to full to ‘half harmonization
    2. Comment: the future of EU consumer law – the end of harmonization?
    3. Two levels, one standard? The multilevel regulation of consumer protection in Europe
    4. A modernization for consumer law?
    5. Effective enforcement of consumer law: the comeback of public law and criminal law
    6. E-consumers and effective protection: the online dispute resolution system
    7. Unfair terms and the Draft Common Frame of Reference: the role of non-legislative harmonization and administration?
  2. Part II – Conceptualizing Vulnerability
    1. The definition of consumers in EU consumer law
    2. Recognizing the limits of transparency in EU consumer law
    3. The best interests of the child and EU consumer law and policy: a major gap between theory and practice?
    4. Protecting consumers of gambling services: some preliminary thoughts on the relationship with European consumer protection law
  3. Part III – Contextualizing Consumer Protection in the EU
    1. Consumer protection and overriding mandatory rules in the Rome I Regulation
    2. Determining the applicable law for breach of competition claims in the Rome II Regulation and the need for effective consumer collective redress
    3. Horse sales: the problem of consumer contracts from a historical perspective
    4. The role of private litigation in market regulation: beyond ‘legal origins’
    5. Advertising, free speech and the consumer
    6. Are consumer rights human rights?
    7. Consumer protection in a normative context: the building blocks of a consumer citizenship practice
    8. Recommended changes to the definitions of ‘auction’ and ‘public auction’ in the proposal for a directive on consumer rights
    9. Consumer law regulation in the Czech Republic in the context of EU law: theory and practice
    10. Resistance towards the Unfair Terms Directive in Poland: the interaction between the consumer acquis and a post-socialist legal culture
  4. Part IV – Conclusions
    1. European consumer protection: theory and practice

Essentially this book is useful for three basic reasons:

  1. It casts light on consumer protection strategies and mechanisms of the EU Commission
  2. It deals with the vulnerabilities that EU consumers are subject to, including on products coming from overseas
  3. It discusses the various aspects of EU consumer protection laws.

This book provides perspective on many subjects relevant to consumer protection including:

  • Analysis of consumer protection in action
  • Citizenship implications
  • Critical looks at market regulation in Member states
  • Intriguing insights on practices in individual Member states
  • Private international law
  • Public law influences on consumer protection standards

This is an excellent text on consumer protection in the European Union.



James Devenney is a Professor of Commercial Law at the Law School of the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.

Mel Kenney is a Reader in Commercial Law at Leicester Law School at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom.