News

Unfairness of standard term electing supplier’s law as governing law

  • August 18, 2016
  • By Hunters Law

Where a consumer enters into a contract in the course of electronic commerce (e.g. by email or through a website), the seller’s general terms of business will normally specify that the contract is to be subject to the law of the State in which the seller is established.  In Verein für Konsumenteninformation v Amazon EU Sarl, the ECJ held that where the seller and the consumer are based in different Member states such a term is unfair unless it is made clear that the consumer’s rights under the mandatory provisions of the law of the country in which he is habitually resident are not prejudiced.

The case was referred to the ECJ by the Austrian Supreme Court following an injunction claim by an Austrian consumer protection association against Amazon EU. Amazon EU is established in Luxembourg but enters into electronic sales contracts with consumers from multiple countries, including Austria.

Amazon’s terms and conditions provided that Luxembourg law applied to its contracts with consumers.

The ECJ held that such a standard term is unfair insofar as “it leads the consumer into error by giving him the impression that only the law of that Member State applies to the contract, without informing him that under article 6(2) of the Rome I Regulation he also enjoys the protection of the mandatory provisions of the law that would be applicable in the absence of that term”. The applicable law will be determined by a national court in the light of the circumstances and is likely to be the law of the consumer’s habitual residence.

Sellers and suppliers trading cross-border within the EU must carefully consider the wording of the choice of law clause in their standard terms and conditions and make it clear that the consumer cannot be deprived of the protection afforded to him by mandatory provisions of the law of his habitual residence.

For queries in relation to commercial matters, please contact the partner at Hunters having responsibility for your legal matters, or for new enquiries please contact a member of our Business Services Team.

Related News

Feb 19, 2021
Stephen Morrall comments on Uber losing a landmark Supreme Court battle in the Evening Standard and the Financial Times
Feb 12, 2021
Richard Baxter and Hannah Solel examine data protection post-Brexit in Information Security Buzz
Feb 05, 2021
Budget 2021 – Still time to prepare for any changes to Business Asset Disposal Relief
Jan 13, 2021
Stephen Morrall and Hannah Solel discuss the gig economy in 2021 in Employee Benefits
Jan 11, 2021
Richard Baxter and Hannah Solel provide a legal update on data protection in 2021
Jan 06, 2021
Stephen Morrall comments on unfair dismissal in Real Business
Dec 14, 2020
Hunters strengthens its Business team with new arrival
Jun 25, 2020
Stephen Morrall and Philippa Kum discuss witnessing a deed remotely
Jun 01, 2020
Amanda Lathia examines the legal challenges of returning to work during the post-COVID-19 lockdown in WealthBriefing
May 15, 2020
Amanda Lathia comments on returning to work during the pandemic

© Hunters Law LLP 2021 | Privacy NoticeLegal & Regulatory | Cookies Policy | Complaints Procedure.

Hunters Law LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (number 657218)

WARNING: Website falsely claiming to be Hunters Law

4 March 2021

The website 'hunterslawllp.com' is operating, falsely claiming to be Hunters Law. This website has been created to mirror the genuine site, although contact details including telephone number and email addresses have been changed, and the SRA verification badge does not work.

We have also been made aware of a series of faxes circulating, purporting to come from ‘barrister’ Dominik Opalinski, advising of an unclaimed inheritance of $16.95M, which feature the same website address. Dominik is a genuine partner of the firm, but is not a barrister.

We have reported this to the SRA, and contacted the website domain hosts to request its urgent removal. If you receive correspondence of a similar nature to that described, please contact us directly by reliable and established means.