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Case detail

B a c k

Directive article Article 2 (d)
Article 2 (e)
Article 5 4. (b)
Article 9 al1 (a)
Article 9 al1 (c)
National ID Consumer Rights Protection Centre Decision Nr. 21-06/6821-P-142
Country Latvia Decision date 11/11/2011
Common name Decision type Administrative decision, first degree
Court Patērētāju Tiesību Aizsardzības Centrs (Rīga) Plaintiff(s) AS “Latvijas Gāze”
Court translation Consumer Rights Protection Centre (Riga) Defendant(s) Consumer Rights Protection Centre (CRPC)
Subject aggressive commercial practices
Keywords ability to supplyadministrative authorityconsumer's homegeographical address

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Headnote

A commercial practice cannot be regarded as unfair under consumer protection legislation, when such practice is also regulated by legal provisions applicable to the public utilities sector, and in the event the competent administrative body on public utilities sector has already ruled that the practice concerned does not violate the legal provisions applicable on the public utilities sector.

Facts

The plaintiff is a gas supply company. The plaintiff refused to conclude agreements on gas supply to addresses at which the previous owner had outstanding liabilities for the gas supplied to that address. As a result, new owners of the property involved were asked to pay the liabilities of the previous owner before they could get the gas supply.
Complaints were lodged with the CRPC to investigate whether such practice is in line with the UCP Directive. The CRPC inquired with Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on its views, since the obligation to ensure supplies of public utilities and certain aspects of dispute settlement in the public utilities sector, fall under a special regime and under the competence of PUC. The PUC provided its opinion that the plaintiff was not under obligation to conclude contracts with consumers under the applicable public utilities regulation.
 

Legal issue

Can a commercial practice still be regarded as unfair under consumer protection legislation, when such practice is also regulated by legal provisions applicable to the public utilities sector, and in the event the competent administrative body on public utilities sector has already ruled that the practice concerned does not violate the legal provisions applicable on the public utilities sector?

Decision

The CRPC found that the plaintiff's practice, i.e. the refusal to enter into contracts with consumers if the consumer did not pay the debts of previous residents of the address concerned, is a prima facie prohibited aggressive commercial practice.
Nevertheless, the CRPC stated, since the PUC is the competent authority to decide on interpretation of applicable laws in the public utilities sector and as the PUC was of the opinion that the plaintiff was not violating the applicable laws, the CRPC does not have the competence to find the trader in violation of the UCP Directive.
The CRPC also noted that it does not have any information about court rulings that show that the interpretation given by PUC regarding the applicable laws, is not correct.
 

  URL Decision Decision full text
EN N/A
LV http://www.ptac.gov.lv/upload/ptac_lemumi/2011/latvijasgaze_lemums_11_11_2011.pdf

Result

The case was dismissed.

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