Maverick Advocaten on with opinion piece on the enforcement of dark patterns

The European Commission recently conducted a study into the use of manipulative practices by webshops, the so-called 'dark patterns'. This showed that almost 40% of the investigated websites contained at least one dark pattern. The Commission is currently investigating whether consumers are adequately protected and has asked national consumer authorities to provide ideas for improvement.

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets ("ACM") proposes to require webshops to make web sites "inherently fair." Such an open standard poses a great risk to legal certainty, deviates significantly from current regulations and is expected to saddle businesses with additional compliance obligations.

A similar development in the United Kingdom - specific to the financial sector - offers little hope for the future. New regulations require financial institutions to demonstrate that their services result in "good outcomes" and "fair value" for consumers. Despite the good intentions behind these obligations, their implementation comes with enormous administrative burdens for companies.

In short, ACM's efforts are laudable in themselves, but the introduction of this seemingly simple principle has everything to become a compliance nightmare for entrepreneurs with a webshop. We wrote a blog about this for

For more information on consumer law see our other blogs here and here.

Follow Maverick Advocaten on LinkedIn

Contact details

Cyriel Ruers

T +31 20 238 20 15
M +31 6 10 257 754

Martijn van de Hel

T +31 20 238 20 02
M +31 6 21 210 853

Diederik Schrijvershof

T +31 20 238 20 03
M +31 6 81 364 318