Answer to Written Question: Safety net to protect small businesses from unfair and arbitrary bank provisions

(Source: European Parliament)



Answer given by Mr Reynders

on behalf of the European Commission


Directive 93/13/EEC on unfair contract terms in consumer contracts[1] guarantees that consumers are not bound by unfair terms. Pursuant to its Article 1(1), the Directive applies to contracts concluded between a seller or supplier and a consumer. Pursuant to Article 2(b), the consumer must be a natural person acting for purposes which are outside his trade, business or profession.[2] Pursuant to Article 2(c), a seller or supplier can be either a legal or a natural person acting for purposes related to his trade, business or profession.[3] Therefore, contracts concluded between parties acting for purposes related to their trade, business or profession do not fall under the scope of Directive 93/13/EEC.

This is without prejudice to the fact that the Member States are free to decide to extend the scope of national rules transposing the Directive also to other contracts, such as to contracts concluded between two sellers or suppliers.[4]

[1] OJ L 95, 21.4.1993, p. 29-34.

[2] See judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 3 September 2015, Case C‑110/14 Costea, paragraphs 15 and 16.

[3] See judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 17 May 2018, Case C-147/16 Karel de Grote, paragraphs 47 and 48.

[4] Section 1.2.1 of Commission Notice – Guidance on the interpretation and application of Council Directive 93/13/EEC of 5 April 1993 on unfair terms in consumer contracts, OJ C 323, 27.9.2019, p. 4–92, COM(2019) 5325 final.

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