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European Case Law

Court of Justice (Second Chamber) 20 September 2018, in case C‑51/17 (OTP Bank Nyrt., OTP Faktoring Követeléskezelő Zrt. v Teréz Ilyés, Emil Kiss)

Consumer protection — Unfair terms — Directive 93/13/EEC — Scope — Article 1(2) — Mandatory statutory or regulatory provisions — Article 3(1) — Concept of ‘contractual term which has not been individually negotiated’ — Term incorporated in the contract after its conclusion following the intervention of the national legislature — Article 4(2) — Plain and intelligible drafting of a term — Article 6(1) — Examination by the national court of its own motion as to whether a term is unfair — Loan contract denominated in a foreign currency concluded between a seller or supplier and a consumer

The concept of ‘term which has not been individually negotiated’ in Article 3(1) of Council Directive 93/13/EEC of 5 April 1993 on unfair terms in consumer contracts must be interpreted as meaning that it covers inter alia a contractual term amended by a mandatory national statutory provision adopted after the conclusion of a contract with a consumer, for the purpose of removing a term which is null and void from that contract.

Article 1(2) of Directive 93/13 must be interpreted as meaning that the scope of that directive does not cover terms which reflect mandatory provisions of national law, inserted after the conclusion of a loan contract concluded with a consumer and intended to remove a term which is null and void from that contract, by imposing an exchange rate set by the National Bank. However, a term relating to the foreign exchange risk, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, is not excluded from that scope under that provision.

Article 4(2) of Directive 93/13 must be interpreted as meaning that the requirement for a contractual term to be drafted in plain intelligible language requires financial institutions to provide borrowers with adequate information to enable them to take well-informed and prudent decisions. In that regard, that requirement means that a term relating to the foreign exchange risk must be understood by the consumer both at the formal and grammatical level and also in terms of its actual effects, so that the average consumer, who is reasonably well informed and reasonably observant and circumspect, would not only be aware of the possibility of a depreciation of the national currency in relation to the foreign currency in which the loan was denominated, but would also be able to assess the potentially significant economic consequences of such a term with regard to his financial obligations.

Article 4 of Directive 93/13 must be interpreted as requiring that the plainness and intelligibility of the contractual terms be assessed by referring, at the time of conclusion of the contract, to all the circumstances attending the conclusion of the contract and to all the other terms of the contract, notwithstanding that some of those terms have been declared or presumed to be unfair and, accordingly, annulled at a later time by the national legislature.

Article 6(1) and Article 7(1) of Directive 93/13 must be interpreted as meaning that it is for the national court to identify of its own motion, in the place of the consumer in his capacity as an applicant, any unfairness of a contractual term, provided that it has available to it the legal and factual elements necessary for that task.


categoria:European Case Law