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Disabled People’s Vulnerability in the European Single Market: The Case of Consumer Information


  • I. Eskytė

    (University of Leeds)


The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) recognizes access to consumer goods and services in the mainstream private market as essential for full participation in the society. It shapes the concepts of consumer participation and market accessibility around the social model of disability and does not make a distinction between disabled and non-disabled market participants. Meanwhile, the European Union and Member States do not recognize people with impairments as equal market participants. They see them as “vulnerable” consumers and classify impairment as one of the criteria for becoming a “vulnerable” participant in the European single market. This paper argues, however, that by shaping policy and market positions and actions around ableism, the European Union, Member States, and the private market prioritize non-disabled citizens and consumers and so construct people with impairments’ consumer vulnerability. To illustrate the case, empirical evidence from mystery shopping and qualitative interviews with consumers with impairments from Lithuania and the UK is used. Since consumer information is essential for informed choice and participation in the market, information provision about mainstream retail outlets and products is used as a case study.

Suggested Citation

  • I. Eskytė, 2019. "Disabled People’s Vulnerability in the European Single Market: The Case of Consumer Information," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 42(4), pages 521-543, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jcopol:v:42:y:2019:i:4:d:10.1007_s10603-019-09422-3
    DOI: 10.1007/s10603-019-09422-3

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Julia Rötzmeier-Keuper, 2020. "Consumer Vulnerability: Overview And Synthesis Of The Current State Of Knowledge And Future Service-Related Research Directions," Working Papers Dissertations 65, Paderborn University, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics.
    2. Radosław Wolniak & Bożena Skotnicka-Zasadzień, 2021. "Improvement of Services for People with Disabilities by Public Administration in Silesian Province Poland," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(2), pages 1-26, January.
    3. L. Waddington, 2022. "Reading a Duty to Provide Accessible Pre-Contractual Information for Consumers with Disabilities into EU Consumer Protection Law," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 307-329, June.

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