6.6.2017   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 178/2


Request for a preliminary ruling from the Budai Központi Kerületi Bíróság (Hungary) lodged on 24 January 2017 — GT v HS

(Case C-38/17)

(2017/C 178/02)

Language of the case: Hungarian

Referring court

Budai Központi Kerületi Bíróság

Parties to the main proceedings

Applicant: GT

Defendant: HS

Questions referred

Do:

the European Union’s competence to ensure a high level of protection for consumers,

the fundamental principles of Union law of equality before the law, the right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial,

several elements of the recitals of Directive 93/13/[EEC] (1) (‘… whereas the two Community programmes for a consumer protection and information policy underlined the importance of safeguarding consumers in the matter of unfair terms of contract; whereas this protection ought to be provided by laws and regulations which are either harmonized at Community level or adopted directly at that level; whereas in accordance with the principle laid down under the heading “Protection of the economic interests of the consumers”, as stated in those programmes: “acquirers of goods and services should be protected against the abuse of power by the seller or supplier, in particular against one-sided standard contracts and the unfair exclusion of essential rights in contracts”; whereas more effective protection of the consumer can be achieved by adopting uniform rules of law in the matter of unfair terms; whereas those rules should apply to all contracts concluded between sellers or suppliers and consumers; whereas as a result inter alia contracts relating to employment, contracts relating to succession rights, contracts relating to rights under family law and contracts relating to the incorporation and organization of companies or partnership contracts must be excluded from this Directive; whereas the consumer must receive equal protection under contracts concluded by word of mouth and written contracts regardless, in the latter case, of whether the terms of the contract are contained in one or more documents; whereas, however, as they now stand, national laws allow only partial harmonization to be envisaged; whereas, in particular, only contractual terms which have not been individually negotiated are covered by this Directive; whereas Member States should have the option, with due regard for the Treaty, to afford consumers a higher level of protection through national provisions that are more stringent than those of this Directive; … whereas contracts should be drafted in plain, intelligible language, the consumer should actually be given an opportunity to examine all the terms and, if in doubt, the interpretation most favourable to the consumer should prevail; …’), and

Article 4(2) and Article 5 of Directive 93/13/[EEC]

preclude binding national case-law that a) and/or b)

a)

imposes no obligation on the counterparty of the consumer, as a condition of validity of the contract, to enable the consumer, before entering into a contract, to read the terms of the contract, written in clear and intelligible language, which form the main subject matter of that contract, including the exchange rate applicable to payments for a currency loan contract, in order to prevent the invalidity of the contract;

b)

enables the counterparty of the consumer to communicate (in a specific document, for example), the terms of the contract, written in clear and intelligible language, which form the main subject matter of that contract, including the exchange rate applicable to payments for a currency loan contract, only at a time when the consumer has already irrevocably committed himself to performing the contract, without this circumstance alone being a ground for the invalidity of the contract?


(1)  Council Directive 93/13/EEC of 5 April 1993 on unfair terms in consumer contracts (OJ L 95, 1993, p. 29).