Zeitschrift für Europäisches Unternehmens- und Verbraucherrecht

ISSN 2191-3412 (Print)
ISSN 2191-3420 (Online)

Abstract This article critically analyses the provisions on damages in the proposal for a regulation on a Common European Sales Law (CESL). It examines similarities of and differences between the CESL approach and its preceding transnational model rules (“Textstufen”) such as the PECL (Principles of European Contract Law) and the DCFR (Draft Common Frame of Reference). In addition, the relevant rules in the CISG which served as inspiration to the aforementioned instruments will be discussed. This contribution criticises the partly contradictory definitions of loss and damage in Art 2 lit c and g of the CESL. In this regard the difficulty of unifying the rules on the recoverability of non-pecuniary damages is pointed out by drawing comparisons to German, Austrian and English law. Attention is especially drawn to the European Law Institute’s proposal to also include rules on the recoverability of loss of amenity. The CESL adopts a concept of no-fault liability which is already enshrined in the transnational model rules mentioned above as well as in the CISG. This concept is limited by rules on foreseeability and force majeure. Concerning the latter, the article discusses whether the CESL provides for the liability of a seller who is not the manufacturer for consequential damages which are caused by a manufacturing defect. This will be examined in the light of the CISG as well as from the perspective of Austrian and German Law. With regard to provisions governing future losses, the foreseeability of losses and damages not resulting from non-performance of an obligation to perform, the article argues that the wording of the CESL is less precise than the respective rules of the DCFR and the Feasibility Study of the CESL, both preceding the CESL. Concerning losses that are attributable to the creditor, attention will be drawn to the judgment of the German Federal Supreme Court of 26. 09. 2012 VIII ZR 100/11 that assessed the creditor’s contribution to the damage in the light of general principles. Furthermore, the article argues that the responsibility of each party should be taken into account when assessing the extent to which a party has caused the other party’s non-performance.

Zusammenfassung Der EU-Verbraucher-Acquis ist in den vergangenen Dekaden umfassend verändert worden. Die Reform kulminierte in der Verabschiedung der vollharmonisierenden Verbraucherrechte-Richtlinie, die verschiedene verbraucherschützende Maßnahmen mit sich bringt. Teil der Änderungen ist die Einbeziehung von Auktionen in den Anwendungsbereich der Richtlinie, während diese in der Fernabsatzrichtlinie bislang wohl ausgeschlossen waren. Während die Verbraucherrechte-Richtlinie Versteigerungen eindeutig umfasst, bleiben die Regelungen für den Umfang des Widerrufsrechts bei Versteigerungen vage und widersprüchlich. Ein Widerrufsrecht wird für Verbraucherverträge verneint, die bei öffentlichen Versteigerungen geschlossen werden. Unterschieden wird in der Richtlinie aber auf absurde Weise zwischen öffentlichen Versteigerungen und dem, was in der Richtlinie die Verwendung von Online-Plattformen zu Versteigerungszwecken genannt wird. Der vorliegende Beitrag untersucht genau den Umfang des Widerrufrechts-Regimes im Lichte der aktuellen Auktionspraktiken, insbesondere traditioneller Versteigerungen, Internet- und Fernseh-Auktionen. Die verschiedenen gegenläufigen ökonomischen und juristischen Auswirkungen des schlecht definierten Rückrufrechts-Regimes bei Versteigerungen werden aus verbraucherschützender Perspektive analysiert. Der Beitrag bietet zudem einen pragmatischen Vorschlag zur Ausgestaltung der Verbraucherrechte bei Versteigerungen.

Unfair Commercial Practices Directive 2005/29/EC (UCPD) Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11. 05. 2005 concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market and amending Council Directive 84/450/EEC, Directives 97/7/EC, 98/27/EC and 2002/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation 2006/2004/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (‘Unfair Commercial Practices Directive’), OJ 2005 L 149/22. The opinions expressed in this article are the authors‘ personal opinions only. with its principle-based provisions is meant to play an important role in pursuing the integration of the European Single Market by, in the main, making sure that traders abide by the same marketing best practices across Member States. Therefore, the key objective is to encourage both traders and consumers to, respectively, sell and buy goods and services across borders. In this respect, as recently stressed by the European Commission, “[a]dvertising plays a vital role in a functioning Single Market and is the main tool for companies to sell their products and services cross-border. Advertising allows companies to differentiate themselves openly: it stimulates competition, decreases prices and increases quality.” Communication On the application of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive Achieving a high level of consumer protection Building trust in the Internal Market, COM (2013) 138 final 5. On 19. 09. 2013, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) gave a preliminary judgment in Case C-435/11 (CHS Tour Services/Team4 Travel), which focussed on the correct interpretation to be given to Art 6 UCPD, the most frequently used provision against misleading actions. Based on information collected by the EU Commission in the dedicated legal database, the reported cases indicate that Art 6 is the most frequently used in the enforcement of the UCPD: see <>. We argue that this ruling is unhelpful to say the least, in that it amounts to what economists describe as a type I error, that is, a false conviction that risks chilling traders’ incentives to ‘compete on the merits’ by pursuing a commercial strategy of quality differentiation and by planning and executing a corresponding advertising campaign. This is so because the CJEU ruled that a trader could be found in breach of Art 6 UCPD even if it is proved that everything was duly done to make sure the marketing information put out was truthful; that is, in line with the duty of professional diligence. On a general note, therefore, this judgement seems to lead to a finding of infringement for which there is no remedy on an ex-ante basis; that is, a trader cannot secure compliance. The resulting legal uncertainty would hardly further the integration of the Single Market. Hence, we advocate for a different interpretation namely that whilst it is not necessary to specifically determine whether an alleged misleading practice is contrary to the requirements of professional diligence, enforcing courts should nevertheless be allowed to consider this line of defence. In what follows, Section 1 outlines the UCPD’s legal framework, looking in particular at how the requirement of professional diligence applies, or not, to the various provisions. After briefly presenting the facts of the case concerned, Section 2 provides a critical commentary of the CJEU’s preliminary ruling and concludes.

Abstract In the Emrek case the CJEU recently decided that Art 15 Para 1 lit c Brussels I Regulation does not require a causal link between pursuing or directing the commercial or professional activities to the Member State of the consumer’s domicile and the conclusion of the contract. Discussing this judgment the authors raise the question whether the present interpretation of the Brussels I regime of consumer jurisdiction has to be re-evaluated in general. Due to the denial of causality the professional’s activities do not have to be pursued or directed chronologically before the conclusion of the contract. The decisive time factor with respect to all prerequisites despite the conclusion of contract is the time when the action is filed.

Conference at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, 19. 07. 2013, hosted by Professor Martin Schmidt-Kessel (Research Centre for Consumer Law) and Professor Bernd Kannowski