The defendant, a credit institution, used general terms and conditions, applicable to its services. The Prosecutor’s Office initiated investigative procedures as it was of the opinion that some of the clauses of the general terms and conditions were invalid. Particularly the clauses regarding the right of the defendant to unilaterally change the terms and conditions were deemed to be unlawful, as for example, it gave the defendant the right to unilaterally change the applicable interest rate.
All judicial instances before which this case was brought, including the court of appeal, were of the opinion that the clauses concerned were invalid.
The defendant on his part referred to the fact that the clauses incorporated in its terms and conditions were in line with the so-called Code of Conduct, applicable to the sector in which the defendant is active. As a result, the defendant stated, incorporating provisions in the terms and conditions that would breach such Code of Conduct would in any case be considered to be an unfair commercial practice. Moreover, not only would such practice be considered unfair, a non-implementation of the Code of Conduct would have exposed the defendant to sanctions imposed by the Financial Supervisory Authority. In short, the defendant argued that it could not have breached the provisions on unfair commercial practices, as it complied with the provisions of the Code of Conduct applicable in its economic sector.