Reviewing the Information Paradigm

The role of online reviews in the regulation of information in EU consumer law

EU consumer law imposes many duties to inform on professional parties. To comply with these duties, traders provide consumers with substantial amounts of information to be read before the conclusion of a contract. However, consumers do not frequently read this information and, when they do, they cannot understand or contextualize it to their own needs.

Consequently, the use of pre-contractual duties to inform as a means to protect consumers has long been criticized, to the extent that some claim that consumers simply do not want pre-contractual information. However, the rise of importance of online reviews in the last years seems to contradict this. Consumers increasingly consult reviews websites such as, TripAdvisor or Amazon to decide whether or not to conclude a contract. This research asks why consumers seem to appreciate online reviews but to ignore long mandated disclosures and how such insights can be used to improve the regulation of information at EU level.

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