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Der Verbraucherbegriff als zentrales Merkmal im europäischen Privatrecht

Pfeiffer, Thomas

In: Schulte-Nölke, Hans ; Schulze, Rainer (Hrsgg.): Europäische Rechtsangleichung und nationale Privatrechte. Nomos, Baden-Baden 1999, pp. 21-43 (Europäisches Privatrecht ; 9)

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One of the few general concepts of European private law is the concept of the term consumer which can be found in various EC contract law directives as well as in the Brüssels and Rome Conventions. There are, however, certain tensions between the concept of the term consumer and traditional civil law thinking. An analysis of these tensions leads to the argument that European Consumer Law directives could be transformed into national contract law more smoothly if these tensions can be avoided. Therefore this article argues that the term consumer should be construed in a way which is in accordance with basic principles of private law. Based on this anaylsis, the article discusses different concepts for an interpretation of the term consumer. This discussion leads to the conclusion: The best way to make European consumer contract law more compatible with national laws would be a construction of the term consumer which is based on legal interest analysis as opposed to purely sociological or economic concepts. Such a legal interest analysis has to take into consideration that according to sources of European law consumers are protected only in certain situations (e.g. doorstep selling; temptation by credit offers; use of preformulated contract terms). A common feature of these situations is that they create handicaps to freedom of contractual choice. As a consequence, a non-consumer is somebody who is able to cope with these handicaps because of his personal skills, his personal experiences or knowledge. The purpose of the term consumer is to typify those persons who lack such personal skills, experience or knowledge. This concept of consumer contracts is then applied to cases in which it is doubtful whether somebody can be called a consumer (e.g. credit contracts of a person who want to become self-employed or the sale of a whole business in order to retreat into private life or "mixed contracts", with which somebody buys goods for both private and business use).

Item Type: Book Section
Editors: Schulte-Nölke, Hans ; Schulze, Rainer
Title of Book: Europäische Rechtsangleichung und nationale Privatrechte
Series Name: Europäisches Privatrecht
Volume: 9
Publisher: Nomos
Place of Publication: Baden-Baden
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2014 07:31
Date: 1999
Page Range: pp. 21-43
Faculties / Institutes: Juristische Fakultät > Institut für Ausländisches und Internationales Privat- und Wirtschaftsrecht
Subjects: 340 Law
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