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Case Details

Case Details
National ID 4 Ob 91/08y
Mitgliedstaat Österreich
Common Name 4 Ob 91/08y
Decision type Supreme court decision
Decision date 10/06/2008
Gericht Oberster Gerichtshof
Betreff
Kläger Verein für Konsumenteninformation (Consumer Information Association)
Beklagter Unknown
Schlagworte right of cancellation, terms and conditions

Unfair Contract Terms Directive, ANNEX I, 1., (c)

There is no gross disadvantage for consumers if, when the consumer is offered a contractual alternative, the higher economic risk of the entrepreneur is compensated by a higher price.
The plaintiff filed a cease-and-desist order to prohibit certain clauses of the defendant's general terms and conditions.
One of the contested clauses states a minimum contractual period of 24 months for mobile telephone contracts when a supported device is purchased.
The consumer can also opt for a tariff without a supported device and without a minimum contractual period.
Under which conditions are extended minimum contractual periods to which consumers are bound justified?
As defined under Annex I 1.c Directive 93/13 (implemented into Austrian law by § 6 Sec 1 Cif 1 Consumer Protection Act) a provision which binds consumers over an inappropriately long time is void.
The Court explains that an entrepreneur who incurs a higher economic risk in financing a contractual service has to bind his contractual partner for a longer period of time to limit this economic risk.
The Court considers that consumers do not incur a gross disadvantage if, when they get offered a contractual alternative, the higher economic risk of the entrepreneur is compensated by a higher price.
In a previous decision, the Court considered a minimum contractual period of 18 months together with a supported device as "relatively short", which led to the conclusion that a minimum contractual period of 24 months together with a supported device is also admissible.
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The Court dismissed the plaintiff's and defendant's appeals.