Consequences of the Use of Personalization Algorithms in Shaping an Offer – A Private Law Perspective

Katarzyna Południak-Gierz

Abstract

Personalization mechanisms in consumer e-commerce allow for the adjustment of the time, form and manner of contact, the way of concluding the contract and the availability and content of the offer. Subsequently concluded agreements can be seen as a new phase of development of the consumer transaction model – secondary individualization replaces standardization. The possibility of concluding contracts on a massive scale is retained, but with added granularity and flexibility that mimic the individualisation of transactions. Special provisions for personalized contracts are missing on the EU level and within the Polish legal system.

The starting point is an analysis of the reaction of the traditional private instruments of Polish law towards the personalization of offers – case law and doctrinal approach towards the concept of a standard contract and an individually negotiated one are examined. Next, the pre-contractual stage is investigated – the personalization process is explored from the perspective of unfair practices regulation, and the legal basis for the personalization process in the context of the GDPR is discussed. While Polish national law focuses on combating the undesired results of personalization, the EU initiatives aim at granting ex-ante protection. The mechanism in directive 2005/29/EC is being supplemented with an information protection mechanism (consent requirement). The limitations of this model are identified and some alternative solutions are proposed.

Keywords

Consumer Protection; GDPR; Personalization; Unfair Commercial Practices

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