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Case Details

Case Details
National ID 3K-3-1137/2002
Valstybė narė Lietuva
Common Name link
Decision type Supreme court decision
Decision date 07/10/2002
Teismas Lietuvos Aukščiausiasis Teismas
Tema
Ieškovas AB “Vilniaus šilumos tinklai”
Atsakovas B.G.
Raktažodžiai contract law, service contract, social services, unfair terms

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

The condition of the heat energy supply agreement, stating that the energy supplier is only responsible for the supply of heat energy until the terminal of the apartment building, is unfair since such a condition limits the energy supplier’s liability against the consumer.
The plaintiff and the defendant concluded the heat energy supply agreement. At the moment of conclusion of this agreement Temporary Rules of Consumption of Thermal Energy were applicable and they established that the plaintiff must supply the heat energy only until the terminal of the apartment building. During the execution of the agreement, the temporary rules were amended and such a condition was repealed, however, the heat energy supply agreements remained unchanged.

The plaintiff supplied the heat energy until the terminal of the apartment building, in which the defendant lived. The defendant, however, refused to pay for the heat energy, because he believed that the heat energy was not provided properly as the average temperature in his apartment was too low.

The plaintiff sued the defendant for failure to pay for the consumed heat energy.
Can the condition of the heat energy supply agreement, stating that the energy supplier shall only be responsible for the supply of heat energy until the terminal of the apartment building, be considered unfair?
The court firstly concluded that agreements on the supply of heat energy are considered to be consumer contracts. Therefore the heat energy supply agreement at hand must be reviewed in the light of the rules against unfair terms in the consumer contracts.

The court explained that the purpose of the heat energy supply agreement is to ensure the respective temperature in the consumer’s apartment. Taking this purpose into consideration, the court concluded that the provision of the agreement, establishing that the heat energy supplier is responsible for the supply of the heat energy only until the terminal of the apartment building and not until the apartment itself, was unfair, because it limited the liability of the plaintiff.
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The case was referred back to the first instance court in order to analyse and consider whether the heat energy provided by the plaintiff was of a good quality.