Definition

Abusive clause (Ro.: Clauză abuzivă, Fr.: Clause abusive) (See also consumer protection, contract law, unfair practice, written clauses) = unfair term used by a party mostly in adhesion contracts. This unfair term is usually not negotiated with the other party, it is a standard term most of the time, and it does not respect the principle of good faith in contracts. 

This term has a special application in consumer protection law due to the adoption of the Directive 93/12/EEC by the Council, when European countries started to pay more attention to the contracts concluded by a professional (seller) and a natural person (buyer). One of the best examples today is given by the credit agreements where banks have a prefigured form of a contract. As these agreements are not negotiated with the consumer, he/she must accept all the contractual terms, otherwise the contract will not be concluded.

When such a contractual term is deemed to be abusive by a court or by the Consumer National Authorities, it will be considered unwritten or null. The legal consequence will be the annulment of the term. Before the adoption and in the absence of the Consumer Directive, the nature of the abusive clause and the legal solution were - established using the principle of good faith.

 

Useful links

Legislation

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:31993L0013&from=EN – Council Directive 93/13/EEC on unfair terms in consumer contracts [English]

http://lege5.ro/Gratuit/gmzdmnzxgm/legea-nr-193-2000-privind-clauzele-abuzive-din-contractele-incheiate-intre-profesionisti-si-consumatori Law no. 193/2000 concerning abusive clauses [Romanian]

http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichCode.do;jsessionid=478A8FE3B554D61DA2518EF122FCF4B0.tpdila12v_1?idSectionTA=LEGISCTA000006161834&cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006069565&dateTexte=20151014  [French]

Organisations and associations

http://www.clauses-abusives.fr/txt/textes.htm - Abusive Clause French Commission 

http://www.anpc.gov.ro/ - National Romanian Authority for Consumers Protection

https://asociatiaparakletos.wordpress.com/ - Parakletos Consumers Association

Case law

ECJ case C-26/13 Kásler and Káslerné Rábai vs. OTP Jelzálogbank Zrt

ECJ case C-342/13 Katalin Sebestyén vs Zsolt Csaba Kővári and others

Cour de Cassation fr., Dec. 12-26416 from 3rd of December 2013

http://legeaz.net/spete-drept-comercial/actiune-anulare-clauza-abuziva-contract-credit-1491-2010- Bucharest Tribunal, Commercial Division VI, Civil Decision no.1491 from 17th of December 2010, unpublished  [ Romanian ]

Online Publications

http://www.lawyr.it/index.php/articles/domestic-focus/540-abusive-clauses-in-the-life-cycle-of-a-consumer-contract  Rațiu, I., 2015, Abusive clauses in the life cycle of a consumer contract, Lawyr.it

http://www.juridice.ro/326335/clauzele-abuzive-in-contractele-de-credit-o-tema-incandescenta-in-dreptul-national-si-cel-european.html - Avram, M., 2014, Clauzele abuzive în contractele de credit- o temă incandescentă în dreptul național și european, Juridice.ro [ Romanian ]

https://books.google.ro/books?id=9AmfbET7GJ4C&pg=PA379&lpg=PA379&dq=abusive+clause+legislation&source=bl&ots=21s63aM_h3&sig=Leim5CeMJQvckK3r3CJxNFU9qLU&hl=ro&sa=X&ved=0CDsQ6AEwBDgKahUKEwjwq7zFpsLIAhXJ1ywKHUhZDng#v=onepage&q=abusive%20clause%20legislation&f=false- Colombi Ciacchi, A., Weatherill, S., 2010, Regulating Unfair Bnaking Practices in Europe:The Case of Personal Suretyships, USA, New York, Oxford University Press.

http://www.businesslawconference.ro/revista/articole/an3nr1/33.%20Stanescu%20Andreea%20Teodora%20EN.pdf – Stănescu,A. T., 2014, The concept of abusive/unfair terms in contracts concluded between the undertakings, on the hand, and the consumers, on the other hand, Perspectives of Business Law Journal Vol. 1, Issue 1, Nov. 2014

http://cks.univnt.ro/uploads/cks_2014_articles/index.php?dir=02_private_law%2F&download=CKS+2014_private_law_art.011.pdf- Comșa, Paul, A FRESH APPROACH TO UNFAIR TERMS IN COMMERCIAL CONTRACTS: ARE THE LATEST LAW AMENDMENTS BENEFICIAL TO CONSUMERS?

Publications

Billiet, P., 2013, Class Arbitration in European Union, Belgium, Maklu

Neyers, J.; Bronaugh, R.; Pite, S., 2009, Exploring Contract Law, Oregon, USA, Oxford and Portland

Fauvarque-Cosson, B. Mazeuad, D., 2008, European Contract Law - Materials for a Common Frame of Reference: Terminology, Guiging Principles, Model Rules, Munchen, Sellier.European law publishers

Schlechtriem, P.; Butler, P.; 2009, UN Law on International Sales - The UN Convention on the International Sale of Goods, Germany, Heidelberg, Springer

Beale, H; Fauvarque-Cosson, B; Rutgers, J.; Tallon, D.; Vogenauer, S., 1988, Contract Law: Cases, Materials and Texts, Britain, Oxford, Hart Publishing

 

By Daniela Ghicajanu