Conciliation and Interpretation of Consumer Contracts
In case a clause in a consumer contract or the application of the clause is unreasonable from the consumer’s point of view, the clause can be conciliated. It is also possible to disregard the contract clause if it is considered to be unreasonable. When considering whether a contract clause is unreasonable or not, the whole content of the contract, the position of the parties, the conditions before and after the conclusion of the contract as well as other factors must be taken into consideration. In an individual situation it is possible to amend the contract so that the overall situation is no longer unreasonable from the consumer’s point of view.
If there is a dispute between a consumer and a trader about the content of the contract, the terms and conditions must be interpreted. There exists a special interpretation rule called the Rule of Obscurity. If the consumer has not been able to influence the terms and conditions of the contract, if for example the trader’s standard terms and conditions have been used, and a dispute over the meaning of such terms and conditions arises, the terms and conditions shall be interpreted in consumer’s favor. A change in the conditions should not be interpreted to the detriment of the consumer if the clause had been unreasonable in the conditions prevailing at the time of the drafting of the contract.
Individual cases regarding consumer protection against unreasonable terms and conditions are handled by general courts and by other supervising bodies. A dispute proceeding must be initiated in order to involve a general court in the conciliation.