Case law

  • Case Details
    • National ID: 09-11.161
    • Member State: France
    • Common Name:link
    • Decision type: Supreme court decision
    • Decision date: 15/11/2010
    • Court: Supreme Court
    • Subject:
    • Plaintiff: M. S. X.
    • Defendant: La société Lenovo France
    • Keywords: black list, court, general discussion on new case law, Scope of the UCP Directive – Full harmonisation
  • Directive Articles
    Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, Annex I, 1.
  • Headnote
    A national court must interpret national legal provisions in accordance with the European Court of Justice's case law concerning those legal provisions.
  • Facts
    In 2007, plaintiff bought a computer from the defendant for the price of 597 EUR. On this computer, software was pre-installed and the computer was ready for use.

    The plaintiff no longer wished to retain the software and went to court to ask for a repayment of 404,81 EUR by the defendant, which the latter refused.  The claim was brought before the court of first instance.

    The first judge has rejected the claim of the plaintiff, by referring to the fact that the plaintiff was fully informed at forehand of the fact the buying the computer was linked to the purchase of the software. According to the first judge, the plaintiff had a full possibility to choose whether or not to buy this product. According to the court, if the plaintiff did no longer wish the computer, he can only ask for a total repayment, and not only the repayment of the software.

    Further, it is important to note that French law foresees a legal provision (L. 122-1 of the Consumer Code) which prohibits combined offers.

    Plaintiff did not agree with this judgment and filed an appeal en cassation.

  • Legal issue
    In a short motivation of one paragraph, the court refers to the cases of the European Court of Justice with reference C-261/07 and C-299/07, in which it was stated by the court that the UCP Directive must be interpreted as precluding national legislation, which, with certain exceptions, and without taking account of the specific circumstances, imposes a general prohibition on certain commercial practices which are not listed in the annex I to the Directive which provides for an exhaustive list of per se prohibitions.

    The court notes that, in light of this case law, it must apply article L. 122-1 of the French Consumer Code, which prohibits combined offers, within the criteria set forth by the UCP Directive.

    The court notes that the first judge has not investigated whether the commercial practice of the defendant falls within the scope of the provisions of the Directive 2005/29 on unfair commercial practices. As a result, the court holds, the decision of the first judge lacks sufficient legal basis.

  • Decision

    Does a national court need to interpret national legal provisions in accordance with the European Court of Justice's case law concerning those legal provisions?

    Full text: Full text

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  • Result
    As a result, the decision of the first judge was annulled.