Case law

  • Case Details
    • National ID: 371/2004
    • Member State: Spain
    • Common Name:José Pablo v “Electrodomésticos Pinedo S. A.”
    • Decision type: Other
    • Decision date: 29/06/2004
    • Court: Audiencia Provincial (Appellate court, Valencia)
    • Subject:
    • Plaintiff:
    • Defendant:
    • Keywords:
  • Directive Articles
    Consumer Sales and Guarantees Directive, Article 1, 1. Consumer Sales and Guarantees Directive, Article 2, 1. Consumer Sales and Guarantees Directive, Article 3, 5.
  • Headnote
    1. The Directive 1999/44/EEC cannot be applied directly to cases that happened before its transposition into Spanish Law, due to its lack of horizontal, direct effect.
    2. The consumer purchaser is protected by the general rules of the Civil Code and the Law for the Protection of Consumers, before the regime of the Directive is applicable, so that on the face of defects that make something unsuitable to function, the termination of the contract applies.
  • Facts
    The consumer Mr. José Pablo acquired two air conditioners through a contract of sale on the 8th July 2002. These were installed by the vendor, “Electrodomésticos Pinedo S. A.”. One of the machines did not work from the start for no obvious reason, and it was not repaired despite of the consumer demanding this in a number of occasions not only to the vendor but to the manufacturer. After several administrative complaints the consumer obtains in this judgment the termination of the contract.
  • Legal issue
    On the face of the complaint by the consumer for a resolution of the contract due to the failure of the purchased goods to function, the seller intends that the Spanish rules for the Protection of Consumers and the Directive 1999/44/EEC, transposed in 2003 in Spain, after the events (2002), should be applied, to avoid that contractual termination.

    The judgment accepts the intentions of the consumer on the basis of 4 arguments:

    1) The termination of the contract due to the unsuitability of what is sold to be used as for the purpose it was made for is only appropriate when the defects hinder the usefulness for what it was purchased, without it being sufficient that the dissatisfaction of the consumer is purely subjective, but objective: then the protection of articles 1101, 1106 y 1124 of the Civil Code can be appealed to.

    2) The rights of the plaintiff can be protected not only by the rules of the Civil Code that he mentions, but also by the rules of the Protection of Consumers, and especially by the articles 11 and 25 to 28 of the General Law 26/1984 on the protection of consumers. The consequence of these rules is a guarantee that includes the repair for free, the replacement of the goods or the refund, and almost objective or strict liability for the vendor, for the consumer has only to prove that he has suffered a damage in connection with the use of a product.

    3) The General Law for the Protection of Consumers is not the only way to protect them, since the rest of civil and commercial rules they can benefit from are not replaced by the aforementioned law (art. 7 Law 26/1984 and STS 17th June and 22nd July 1994).

    4) On the application of the Directive 1999/44/EEC, the judgment reminds us, with a quotation of the judgment of the Supreme Court of 18th March 1995, that the Directives are not to be applied directly “only when the particulars act against the disobedient State
    -vertical effect- but not when it is a conflict only among particulars/individuals -horizontal effect”. Therefore that Directive, since it was transposed into Spanish law in the Law 23/2003, once the case had happened (10.7.2003), it is not applicable here.

    To conclude, as the vendor has not proved that the defects affecting the performance of the device are due to reasons that could exonerate her from her responsibility, according to the Civil Code and the Law for the Protection of Consumers, the termination of the sale takes place.
  • Decision

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