Published online by Cambridge University Press: 19 September 2018
A recent judgment of the Grand Chamber of the Italian Supreme Civil Court provides clear evidence of the way in which Italian courts (and, more generally, the Italian legal system) understand the relationship between the general rules on sales contracts provided for in the Civil Code, on the one hand, and the rules governing B-to-C contracts for the sale of moveable goods. The same decision further shows some relevant remaining differences, with regard to this topic, between Italian law, the law of other Member States, the CISG, EU Directives and the future CESL.
In the case at hand, the Supreme Court was concerned with the sale of equipment between two companies and, more specifically, the liability of the seller for the defects in the goods, which became apparent a few months aft er the delivery to the buyer. The Court stated as follows:
‘As regards the absence of defects in the good delivered to the buyer, no obligation in a technical sense arises upon the seller as a result of the conclusion of the contract of sale. Should the goods prove to be defective subsequent to delivery, the buyer is entitled only to the remedies set forth by the Civil Code concerning the so called “garanzia per vizi” (legal guarantee for defects): thus, if the goods are defective, the buyer may do nothing more than seeking the judicial termination of the contract or the reduction of the price; money compensation for damages in connection with the defects may be claimed only if the seller did not disclose the defect to the buyer prior to the conclusion of the contract despite he was aware (or could not reasonably ignore) the existence of such defect in the good sold. Instead, the buyer is not entitled to claim the performance of the contract; in particular, the buyer is not entitled to have the goods brought in conformity by replacement or repair. Such remedies belong to the buyer only under special and exceptional circumstances: these remedies are available, in particular, when the parties have expressly agreed them in specific clauses of the contract of sale or in a connected commercial guarantee; or when the contract is a B-to-C contract of sale of a moveable item, governed by the provisions of the Italian Consumer Code, which implement Directive 99/44/EC.’
- Consumer Sales in Europe , pp. 89 - 108Publisher: IntersentiaPrint publication year: 2016