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Case Details

Case Details
National ID Legf. Bír. Kf. VI. 37. 187/2000. sz.
Member State Hungary
Common Name link
Decision type Other
Decision date 01/01/9999
Court Magyar Köztársaság Legfelsőbb Bíróság (Supreme court)
Subject
Plaintiff
Defendant
Keywords

Consumer Sales and Guarantees Directive, Article 8, 1.

If the Consumer Protection Authority investigates consumers’ guarantee claims, it is not going beyond its remit. This does not affect the supplier’s right to dispute the Authority’s rulings in court and not to comply with the Authority’s requests.
In 1997, a consumer bought a car. After a year, the chassis was no longer in proper working order. After the consumer had reported the fault to the supplier, he promised he would have replacements for the defective parts delivered to the consumer. However, the parts were not sent on time and so the consumer demanded that a replacement car be delivered. The supplier stated that he was only prepared to send replacement parts.
The consumer consequently lodged a complaint with the Consumer Protection Authority. The Authority ordered the supplier to investigate the consumer’s complaint and invoked the (then valid) provisions on guarantees for long-lasting goods as well as the arrangements in the Civil Code.
The supplier lodged an appeal with the Authority against the ruling, though this was rejected. He then filed a lawsuit with the Court of First Instance.
The Court of First Instance upheld the supplier’s claim, overturned the Consumer Protection Authority ruling and ordered the Authority to examine the case again. In its reasoning, it explained that guarantee rights or legal warranties could only be claimed in civil proceedings. The Authority’s remit was limited to checking the guarantee documentation and verifying whether the repairs could be properly carried out and the vehicle was roadworthy. Thus, the Authority had gone beyond its remit by initiating legal proceedings for claims under guarantee.
The Authority lodged an appeal against the ruling by the Court of First Instance.
The Supreme Court of Hungary upheld the Consumer Protection Authority’s appeal. It ruled that the Authority had merely ordered the supplier’s manager to investigate the consumer’s complaint and to inform the Authority of the outcome within 15 days. In the court’s opinion, the Authority’s decision had merely highlighted the duties both parties had under the relevant provisions. The reasons given for the decision merely contained statements about the repair procedure for the plaintiff as well as the conclusion that the consumer did have a claim for an additional delivery under the then provisions in civil law. However, according to the court, this did not mean that making a claim for an additional delivery came under the Consumer Protection Authority’s remit. Under § 43a and § 43b of the 1997 Consumer Protection Act and § 6c and 4c of Government Decree 98/1998 (V8) on the organisation, responsibilities and remit of the Consumer Protection Authority, the Authority’s remit included ensuring that provisions were adhered to with respect to consumer complaints and queries. Irrespective of this, the supplier could dispute any consumer complaints in court.
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