Shoppers should be provided with more information about special promotions as part of the current review of EU consumer legislation.
East of England MEP Vicky Ford, who also chairs the European Parliament's Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, wants to ensure retailers always disclose the price per unit of goods, even on promotional items. This would enable consumers to see whether a "special offer" was cheaper than the same product when packaged in a different way or quantity.
She said: "We should avoid overloading people with information that is often disregarded – how many of us ever read all those terms and conditions? – while also making it easier to compare and analyse different offers. Information on 'special offers' is often misleading or confusing.
"Currently measures protecting consumers are scattered across many different legal instruments. We need to change that and create a clear, simple and readily enforceable approach that delivers real protection while supporting innovation and growth."
Mrs Ford told the European Consumer Summit in Brussels that the revised legislation needs to recognise that there is no such thing as an average consumer.
"Older people are increasingly targeted by fraudsters on and off-line," she said. "Is it fair to expect this group to be as well informed as someone who has grown up in the digital age?"
Mrs Ford is also calling on the EU to:
* Reconsider the goal of harmonised consumer laws across the EU. People in countries where consumer rights already exceed those proposed by the EU, including the UK, could see their protection reduced.
* Look again at proposals covering data collection and storage by retailers. The need to track and return data would hamper start-ups, especially App developers.
* Make sure legal protections are properly enforced so that consumers who fall victim to illegal practices, such as in the Volkswagen emissions case, can receive compensation.