October 25, 2011

Rollover Contract – Week 4

The European Union has so far adopted several Directives concerning the protection of the consumer. Regarding the, so called 'Rollover Contracts', the Directive 93/13 EEC is still decisive. At that time it was based on the EU's competence for the free movement of goods in the EU. It was always claimed that a lack of harmonisation in the field of consumer protection could impede the free movement of goods, because the supplier would have the uncertainty, which standard of protection would be applied according to the different member states. But as the Directions in this area are always adopted with a 'minimum harmonisation' the outcome, or rather the transpositions can be different from state to state. The minimum harmonisation allows every state to go beyond the imposed standard of protection, so the prescribed protection of the Directive is the minimum to transpose. As the Directive 93/13 EEC only imposes that the period of notice must not be improperly long, the German transposition forbids contracts in a B2C-reation with a duration longer than 2 years. In other member states a similar transpostion to the German does not exist. From this point of view the grounds to adopt the Consumer-Directives on the competence of the free movement of goods seems quite dubious. What is here the contribution to the free movement of goods? The difference in the level of protections remains. Either the grounds for the Consumer-Directive or the kind of harmonisation should be revised. At the moment this practice does not seem to be coherent.


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