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Case Details

Case Details
National ID link
Member State Malta
Common Name Spiteri Bailey et vs Bajada et
Decision type Administrative decision in appeal
Decision date 04/10/2013
Court Court of Appeal (Civil, inferior)
Subject
Plaintiff Spiteri Bailey Nicolette Et
Defendant Raymond Bajada U Metalfit Co Ltd
Keywords ability to supply, consumer rights, contract law, repair

Consumer Sales and Guarantees Directive, Article 3, 5. Consumer Sales and Guarantees Directive, Article 4 Consumer Sales and Guarantees Directive, Article 5, 1. Consumer Sales and Guarantees Directive, Article 5, 2.

(1) With respect to the redress available to the final seller under Article 77, which implements Article 4 of Directive 1999/44/EC into Maltese law, the fact that in the contractual relationship another person (such as a producer or previous seller) is responsible, does not release the final seller from his responsibilities under the Consumer Affairs Act

(2) The two year period under Article 78, which implements Article 5 (1) of Directive 1999/44/EC into Maltese law, should be suspended while negotiations between parties are still ongoing with the aim of reaching an amicable agreement. This is not a normal prescriptive period since it is not a period during which the consumer must bring forth an action. It is also not the applicable period in a situation where an action for damages has been brought.

(3) Article 79, which implements Article 5 (2) of Directive 1999/44/EC into Maltese law, on the notification of the trader, cannot be availed of in instances where the case is one of an action for damages. In such a case it is the relevant provisions of the Civil Code which apply.

(4) When a remedy for repairs comes at great inconvenience to the buyer, a return in part of the price is justified by virtue of Article 76, which implements Article 3 (5) of Directive 1999/44/EC into Maltese law.

The plaintiff instituted a case in the Consumer Claims Tribunal following the purchase and installation of iroko apertures from the defendant, the hinges of which began to rust later on. The hinges were meant to be electro-galvanised plated. The Tribunal found in favour of the plaintiff, ordering the defendants to pay, in solidum, the sum of €2,000 to the plaintiff. The defendant Metalfit Company Limited then appealed this decision on the grounds that it had no juridical relationship with the plaintiff; that the remedy it awarded was not the one requested by the plaintiffs and that it was also disproportionate.
The court held that there was indeed a juridical relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant, even if indirect. It also held that the remedy awarded was just considering that it would have been difficult to award the remedy the plaintiffs had requested, stating that principles of equity can and should be employed in certain instances by the court, whilst still operating within the bounds of the law.
(1) Is the final seller released from any of his obligations under the Consumer Affairs Act due to the fact that another person (such as a producer or a previous seller) is listed as being responsible in the contractual relationship with the buyer?

(2) Do negotiations suspend the two year time bar laid down at law for the applicability of the legal guarantee and is it a prescriptive period?

(3) Can Article 79, which implements Article 5 (2) of Directive 1999/44/EC into Maltese law, on the notification of the trader be relied on in a case for damages?

(4) Is a return in part of the price justified when the buyer must suffer large costs to undergo repairs as a form of remedy?
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The defendant's appeal was rejected and the appealed decision was confirmed by the court.