"I want my money back" : problems, successes and failures in the price regulation of the gas supply market by civil law remedies in Germany
Title: "I want my money back" : problems, successes and failures in the price regulation of the gas supply market by civil law remedies in Germany
Author: REICH, Norbert
Series/Number: EUI LAW; 2015/05; European Regulatory Private Law Project (ERPL-11)
The paper discusses the – seemingly successful - actions of German consumer associations against unjustified gas price increases by the dominant suppliers of so called “special clients”. The clauses in the standard contract terms of the suppliers were condemned either as intransparent or/and as unfair by the German Federal Court (Bundesgerichtshof – BGH), supported and extended by the well-known RWE judgment of the CJEU of 21.3.2013 ruling on the scope of Dir. 93/13/EEEC on un fair terms in consumer contracts. However, the actions of individual consumers for getting their money back after having been illegally overcharged have proven to be much more difficult because of a number of restrictive conditions imposed on restitution by the BGH which, in the opinion of this author, clearly violate EU law but have not yet been up to scrutiny before EU jurisdictions. The author makes a number of suggestions in this direction to help consumers, based on EU and/or corresponding German law, in particular Art. 47 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Subject: Unfair terms in consumer contracts; Principle of transparency; Effects of intransparent terms; Restitution in favour of overcharged consumers; Restrictive condition
Grant number: FP7/269722
Type of Access: openAccess