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PR(01)31: The EFTA Surveillance Authority adopts a report on the application of the directive on unfair terms in consumer contracts (93/13/EEC)

18.9.2002

The EFTA Surveillance Authority has adopted a report on the application of the Council Directive on unfair terms in consumer contracts (93/13/EEC) in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Directive 93/13/EEC, as incorporated into the EEA Agreement, aims at ensuring that, in every EEA State, unfair contractual terms are removed from contracts between natural persons being consumers and professionals. It also ensures that appropriate measures for the elimination of unfair contractual terms are set up at national level. To ensure appropriate information for the consumers, the Annex to the Directive provides for examples of terms, which may be considered by the Member States as unfair. Finally, the Directive allows the Member States, under certain conditions, to ensure a higher degree of protection for the consumers.

According to Article 9 of the Directive the European Commission shall draft a report concerning the application of the Directive in the Member States of the European Community (EC). In respect of the EFTA States, this task is incumbent upon the EFTA Surveillance Authority.

The Authority’s report analyses both the implementation and the application of the Directive within the three EFTA States. The report is essentially based on information provided by the EFTA States.

As far as implementation of the Directive is concerned, the report notes that the Directive has been, to a very large extent, correctly transposed. However, some shortcomings remain. The Authority has already drawn the attention of the EFTA States to those issues and is ready to initiate appropriate actions to ensure that consumers are equally protected in all EEA States. As regards application of the Directive, the report notes that, generally speaking, the Directive works well. The report also gives an overview of national case law and the interpretation of the concept of good faith in the EFTA States.

The full text of the Authority’s report is available at: http://www.efta.int/ under Surveillance Authority, publications, other reports. A paper version of the Authority’s report is also available on request.

For further information please contact Mr. Vincent Kronenberger, officer at the Persons, Services and Capital Movements Directorate, telephone (32)-2-286-1880.

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