Electronic communication services. Changes to charges

The European Court of Justice published on Thursday, 26 November 2015, the judgment issued in the case C-326/14, A1 Telekom Austria, concerning: the Directive 2002/22/EC- Electronic communications networks and services – Users’ rights -Right of subscribers to terminate their contract without penalty – Changes to charges under terms of the contract – Increase in charges in line with increase in the consumer price index.

The reference for a preliminary ruling at the request of Oberster Gerichtshof (The Supreme Court of Austria) regards the interpretation of Article 20 (2) of the Directive 2002/22/EC on universal service and users’ rights relating to electronic communications networks and services.

The request has been made in proceedings between the Verein für Konsumenteninformation (Consumer Information Association, ‘the Association’) and A1 Telekom Austria AG (‘A1 Telekom Austria’) concerning the latter’s use of allegedly unlawful terms in consumer contracts.

By its question, the referring court asks, in essence, whether Article 20(2) of Directive 2002/22 must be interpreted as meaning that a change in charges for the provision of electronic communications networks or services, resulting from the operation of a price adjustment clause contained in the standard terms and conditions applied by an undertaking providing such services, the term providing that such a change applies in accordance with changes in an objective consumer price index compiled by a public institution, constitutes a ‘modification to the contractual conditions’ within the meaning of that provision, which grants the subscriber the right to withdraw from the contract without penalty.

In the light of the foregoing considerations, the answer to the question referred is that Article 20(2) of Directive 2002/22 must be interpreted as meaning that a change in charges for the provision of electronic communications networks or services, resulting from the operation of a price adjustment clause contained in the standard terms and conditions applied by an undertaking providing such services, the term providing that such a change applies in accordance with changes in an objective consumer price index compiled by a public institution, does not constitute a ‘modification to the contractual conditions’ within the meaning of that provision, which grants the subscriber the right to withdraw from the contract without penalty.

:: The Source: JURIDICE.ro

Irina Horodinca

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