Plaintiffs Ellul Bonici bought an Opel Astra car from defendant company and subsequently discovered that diesel pump was defective. In order for this pump to be changed plaintiffs had to pay 1253 euro. In doing so plaintiffs argued that this expense should be borne by defendant company. Plaintiffs therefore in December 2007 filed a claim before the Consumer Claims Tribunal.
Defendant company argued that plaintiff’s claim was subject to prescription as the car was purchased in December 1999 and that according to article 78 of the Consumer Affairs Act the claim was subject to a period of prescription of 2 years.
The Consumer Claims Tribunal – being the tribunal of first instance - decided to award €600 as part of the damages being claimed by plaintiffs, this with costs in favour of plaintiffs.
The Tribunal in its decision stated that the damage in the pump was not the result of misuse by plaintiffs but was a recurring defect in the car model and that this therefore constituted a manufacturing defect.
Defendant company contested the Consumer Claims Tribunal decision before the Court of Appeal (inferior jurisdiction), arguing that the Tribunal had completely ignored its preliminary plea that the action by plaintiffs was subject to a period of prescription of two years in accordance with article 78 of the Consumer Affairs.