Case law

  • Case Details
    • National ID: 285/2009-JP
    • Member State: Portugal
    • Common Name:link
    • Decision type: Court decision, first degree
    • Decision date: 28/05/2010
    • Court: Justice of the Peace (Porto)
    • Subject:
    • Plaintiff: Unidentified consumer
    • Defendant: Unidentified travelling agency
    • Keywords: black list, cancellation of contract, contract law, inaccurate information, misleading commercial practices, misleading omissions
  • Directive Articles
    Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, Chapter 2, Section 1, Article 6, 1. Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, Chapter 2, Section 1, Article 7, 1. Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, Annex I, 18.
  • Headnote
    Providing inaccurate information and omitting essential information relating to a contract, in order to convince a consumer to sign the contract, constitutes a misleading commercial practice. Such commercial practice equally breaches the obligation to act in good faith when negotiating and executing a contract.
  • Facts
    The plaintiff received a phone call from the defendant’s employees informing her that she had been selected by the defendant (a travel agency) to win a trip.

    In order to claim the prize, the plaintiff went to the defendant’s establishment and, after a protracted insistence on the part of the employees, the plaintiff executed a "card contract" with the defendant. The defendant’s employees assured the plaintiff that she did not have to read the contract and that she would be entitled to cheaper plane tickets and hotel stays than those she would be able to find without the card.


    The plaintiff argued that when she subsequently sought out the defendant’s services she was only offered much more expensive trips and hotels than those she could find on her own on the market. Further, the defendant would not allow the plaintiff to change the dates of a trip which she had booked with the defendant, which is something that other travel agencies typically allow. The defendant declined the plaintiff's arguments, citing the terms of the contract signed with the plaintiff, and demanded that the plaintiff pay the entirety of the trip’s price in one lump sum on the very day a trip was booked.


    The plaintiff felt misled by the defendant due to the omitted and otherwise inaccurate information provided at the time at which the contract was executed. The plaintiff claimed that she lacked the necessary knowledge to enter into a contract and asked for damages to compensate her losses incurred as well as for termination of the contract.
  • Legal issue
    The court held that the dispute involves a breach of contract as the defendant did not comply with what had been agreed, and the parties must always be bound by any contract entered into between them (Article 406 (1) of the Portuguese Civil Code). Additionally, the court repeated that parties must act in good faith when negotiating and executing a contract (Articles 227 (1) and 762 of the Portuguese Civil Code).

    Further, the rules designed to protect the consumers’ interests from unfair commercial practices are set out in articles 7, 8 (v), 9 (1) (a) (and others) of Decree-Law No. 57/2008. The defendant breached these rules and misled the plaintiff by providing her with inaccurate information which led to the execution of a contract with less favorable conditions than those she could find elsewhere on the market. Moreover, the defendant omitted essential information necessary for the plaintiff to make a conscious decision. 

    In fact, the plaintiff only executed the contract because she was led to believe, by the defendant’s employees, that the defendant’s card gave her particularly advantageous conditions in terms of trips, hotel stays and other related services, which she realized was not so when she tried to use the card. 


    Finally, the judge invoked article 14 (1) of Decree-Law No. 57/2008, which stipulates that contracts executed under the influence of any unfair commercial practice may be cancelled upon request by the relevant consumer, to retroactively terminate the agreement.
  • Decision


    Does omitting to provide accurate information and essential information for a conscious decision by a consumer, constitute an unfair commercial practice, and more particularly acts of bad faith impacting on the negotiation and execution of a contract?


    Full text: Full text

  • Related Cases

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  • Result
    The court ruled in favour of the plaintiff. The contract was terminated retroactively (void ab initio).

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