Európai igazságügyi portál - Case Law
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MÁR ELÉRHETŐ A PORTÁL BÉTA VERZIÓJA!

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Case Details

Case Details
National ID Legf. Bír. Kfv. VI. 38.704/2000. sz.
Tagállam Magyarország
Common Name link
Decision type Egyéb
Decision date 01/01/9999
Bíróság Magyar Köztársaság Legfelsőbb Bíróság
Tárgy
Felperes
Alperes
Kulcsszavak

Unfair Contract Terms Directive, Article 7

The Consumer Protection Authority is entitled to investigate standard terms and conditions that affect consumers. The public water supplier is not permitted to demand a deposit in order to secure payment of water rates.
In its STCs, the Hungarian public water supplier was demanding that consumers secure payment of their water bill with a mortgage for their property. Where the property was rented, debt guarantee agreements were signed with the owners of the flat. The water suppier aimed to agree certain contracts exclusively with homeowners.
The Consumer Protection Authority investigated the water supplier’s contracts and ordered it to abide by the relevant laws. In giving reasons for its decision, the Consumer Protection Authority explained that the supplier could not stipulate in standard terms and conditions that a consumer must pay a deposit. It was also not permitted to agree contracts only with a certain group of consumers.
In its appeal, the water supplier cited, inter alia, the argument that investigating the terms of a contract lay outside the remit of the Consumer Protection Authority. In the water supplier’s opinion, only a court was entitled to rule on whether or not the terms of a contract were in breach of the law.
The Consumer Protection Authority’s appeal body upheld the first decision and, in making its ruling, referred to § 6, § 43, and § 47-49 of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA).
The supplier filed a lawsuit against this ruling.
The Court of First Instance rejected the claim. The court held that while the water supplier was entitled to offer the opportunity to pay a deposit, it could not refuse to agree the contract should this offer be turned down. Furthermore, the court explained that the CPA entitled the Authority to investigate standard terms and conditions affecting consumers.
The water supplier lodged an appeal with the Hungarian Supreme Court. In its appeal submission, it once again argued that the Authority was going beyond its remit, meaning that the verdict reached by the Court of First Instance was unlawful.
The Supreme Court rejected the appeal. It ruled that § 43h CPA (1997) explicitly entitled the Consumer Protection Authority and the relevant regional authorities to investigate standard terms and conditions affecting consumers. Moreover, § 4 para 1 of Government Decree 98/1998 (V8) sets out in greater detail the responsibilities and remit of the Consumer Protection Authority and states that, beyond the responsibilities laid down in the Consumer Protection Act, the Authority is entitled to investigate compliance with all regulatory and statutory provisions affecting consumers. § 47 para 1a also enables the Authority to take the requisite measures to remedy any breaches of the CPA that it discovers. Furthermore, the Authority is entitled to impose further penalties laid down in the CPA (such as fines).
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