The rules provided by the civil codes on defects in consent were designed at a time when the notion of consumer law did not exist and fairness at the pre-contractual stage was not widely considered as a value worthy of protection. Matters have changed radically in the last three decades. The proliferation of rules protecting consumers on a European level, especially through information duties and rights of withdrawal, and the growing impact of general clauses, has led to a fragmentation of domestic contract law. This clash of different sets of rules is particularly conspicuous in the field of unfair commercial practices as the European legislator has not made provision for specific private law remedies for individual consumers in cases of misleading and aggressive commercial practices. This article addresses the particular issue of the applicability of the law of fraudulent misrepresentation to cases of misleading commercial practices. The purpose is to reconsider ‘fraud’ in terms of a defect in consent, in a manner that is both more in line with the modern features of European contract law and better able to counteract new market strategies based on exploiting cognitive weaknesses. The focus is thus put on the relationship between pre-contractual information duties and defective consent, as well as on some insights of law and economics, which demonstrate that ‘consent theories’ or ‘will theories’ cannot provide precise criteria to indicate when a contract should be void. In conclusion, a possible legislative intervention aiming to substitute the rules on fraud for a set of remedies for violation of information duties is discussed.