Case law

  • Case Details
    • National ID: link
    • Member State: Sweden
    • Common Name:link
    • Decision type: Other
    • Decision date: 18/12/2002
    • Court: Högsta Domstolen (Supreme court)
    • Subject:
    • Plaintiff:
    • Defendant:
    • Keywords:
  • Directive Articles
    Consumer Sales and Guarantees Directive, Article 1, 1.
  • Headnote
    1. This was a case where a person had signed for a course to become a consultant for health care (including diploma). The buyer had been notified that a deposit was to be paid in advance in the amount of SEK 3.000, then another 20.000 as deposit and subsequently the balance.
    The case concerned the right of the buyer to terminate the contract and if so under what circumstances. Would the buyer be entitled to any refund of the amounts already paid or was there a duty on the buyer to pay the remaining balance.
  • Facts
    In this case a consumer had purchased from a business an education to become consultant in respect of health service (including a diploma). The price for the course was SEK 40.350 (taking into consideration the payment type that had been chosen by the buyer). The buyer paid SEK 3.000 as a deposit and then further17.000 = SEK 20.000 but had not paid the remaining balance SEK 20.350.
    The course comprised of 10 meetings each consisting of 3 days. After 3 meetings the buyer terminated the agreement. The seller sued the buyer claiming that the remaining payment had to be made in view of the particularity of the course and that it only had few participants, that it was full and that the termination was made so late that there was no possibility of allowing a substitute student to participate in stead. The only costs that could be saved were costs for material an similar in the amount of about SEK 3.000.
  • Legal issue
    In the court of first instance the seller claimed that the buyer was in breach of contract and had pay the remaining SEK 20.350. The buyer in his turn claimed that he was entitled to breach of contract on the part of the seller.(this was never very clear in the court proceedings).
    The seller stated that there was a binding agreement and that the buyer had to pay in accordance with that. The buyer alleged having understood that SEK 3.000 was the only amount that would not be repaid. The buyer used only 3 out the 5 meetings for which payment had been made. If the agreement is in stead to be understood thus that the full amount has to be paid, then the buyer is entitled in analogy with the Consumer Purchase Act and the Consumer Service Act to interrupt the education programme against the payment fort hat part of the course that was used plus reasonable damages. This could amount to maximum SEK 12.000 plus 2.700. Since he already paid 20.000 he was therefore entitled to a refund of 5.300.
    The seller also added that if the buyer was to be regarded as a consumer then the buyer had a right to interrupt his participation against paying costs. She also contended that the course was individual, only had some few particpants and had been signed up fully so it was too late to have some other participant and therefore the buyer had to pay up the full amoung less possibly 2.000 that could be saved.
    The court of first instance found that the buyer had to pay the outstanding balance less the 2.000, i.e. 18.350.
    The court of appeal in its reasoning also adds that there is in Swedish law no particular legislation in respect of this type of education. In stead the court has to fall back on general principles and on closely related rules such as the Consumer Purchase act and the Consumer service Act and the then applicable rules on the right to . The Court of Appeal comes to the same conclusion as the Court of first instance.
    The reasoning in the Supreme Court largely followed that in the Court of Appeal making analogies from the relevant Consumer legislations. There is a right on the part of the consumer to but there may also be a duty to pay damages. If the buyer has good reason to interrupt it will be liable to pay for what has already been „consumed“ but if the buyer has good reason then to interrupt there will be no further payment obligation on him. Failing such good reason the buyer will have to pay damages fort he service provider´s losses. This means that the buyer may have to pay up to the full value of the course.
    In view of the circumstances the Supreme Court then decided that the buyer had to pay SEK 18.350 (allowing for a price reduction of SEK 2.000 (on top of the 20.000 already paid).
  • Decision

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