Chapter 19 The rights of people with disabilities in EU consumer law
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Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), regarding equal recognition before the law, affirms that States Parties are obliged to recognize that ‘persons with disabilities enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life’. This right implicitly provides for the possibility for people with disabilities to act as consumers and, consequently, for the possibility to enjoy freely the goods and services available in the internal market. However, the legislation in force at the European Union (EU) level does not always consider the needs of people with disabilities, excluding them from the definition of the average consumer, and including them in the more general one of ‘vulnerable groups’. This chapter will identify the current legislative framework applicable to people with disabilities as consumers and the type of adaptations available, showing the main challenge of reconciling freedom of contract with equality in access to the market.

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