ECJ decides an employer offering a loan to an employee is a supplier for the purposes of the Unfair Contract Terms Directive

On 21 March 2019, the European Court of Justice gave its decision in Pouvin v Electricité de France (Case C 590/17) on whether a French electricity provider (EDF) was a supplier for the purposes of the Unfair Contract Terms Directive (93/13/EEC) (the UCTD).  EDF provided a loan to one of its employees and his spouse to buy a house.  The ECJ decided EDF was acting for purposes relating to its “trade, business or profession” and was therefore a supplier for the purposes of the UCTD.  

Because the employee was classed as a consumer, the French court must therefore consider if the terms of the loan are fair under France’s laws implementing the UCTD.  The broad interpretation of the definition of “supplier” helped achieve the UCTD’s objective of protecting the consumer (as a weaker party) and making sure there was balance in the relationship.