Raising Awareness on Access to Justice
Raising Awareness on Access to Justice

News

2013 01 22

European order for payment for recovery of undisputed damages

Although the European order for payment procedure is in use from the end of 2008, due to the lack of knowledge Lithuanians seldom use this opportunity to get reimbursement of the money paid for the faulty or undelivered goods and services bought in another EU member state. A video film, created by the Lithuanian Consumer Institute in partnership with the Bulgarian National Consumers Association "Active Consumers", presents how consumers may take advantage of the European order for payment procedure.

On 12 December 2008, the European order for payment procedure came into effect in all member states of the European Union, except Denmark. The procedure makes it possible for consumers to resolve their pecuniary disputes with traders in other EU member states easier, faster and cheaper. Research shows, however, that due to the lack of knowledge and confidence in the procedures Lithuanians seldom use this possibility. 

The European order for payment procedure is rather straightforward. First of all, a standard application to issue a European payment order should be completed on the e-Justice portal www.e-justice.europa.eu  where the parties to the dispute and the amount claimed should be indicated, the description of evidence supporting the claim and other data should be provided. The application should be printed out in the Lithuanian language and in the defendant's language and submitted to the competent court. 

"If the application satisfies formal criteria, the court should issue a European order for payment not later than within 30 days. The issued document is forwarded by the court to the defendant in another EU member state. It usually takes not longer than a month. If the defendant does not submit any objections within 30 days, the court issues to the applicant a document confirming the enforceability of the European order for payment, which may be immediately submitted for enforcement to a bailiff or an equivalent official both in Lithuania or in any other EU member state," told attorney at law Dr. Laura Gumuliauskienė.

The European order for payment procedure has several advantages. Firstly, there is no restriction on the amount claimed. Secondly, consumers in Lithuania are exempt from the stamp duty for the application to issue a European order for payment. Besides, the procedure does not require any special legal knowledge, therefore, it is not necessary to hire a lawyer.

"The main shortcoming of the European order for payment procedure is that it is possible to use it only when the defendant does not dispute the consumer's claim. In case the defendant objects, even groundlessly, the consumer will have to apply to court with a claim following the usual civil procedure rules. It is worth trying anyway, because this procedure does not cost much time or money," says L. Gumuliauskienė.

The video film produced by the Lithuanian Consumer Institute presents the European order for payment procedure using an example of an organised tourist tour. The character who is dissatisfied by the services promised by a tour operator decides to seek redress of damages at court. The topic of the video film has been chosen taking into account the Eurobarometer research data, which shows that consumers' complaints in the area of transportation most often relate to their air flight passenger rights (57 %) or to the quality of recreational and cultural services (23.7 %).
 
The video film has been produced implementing the Project “Raising Awareness on Access to Justice”, which is financed by the 2007-2013 specific programme "Civil Justice" of the European Commission, the Lithuanian Consumer Institute, the Bulgarian National Consumers Association "Active Consumers" and by the national budget funds of the Republic of Lithuania. More information: http://www.vartotojai.lt/lt/civiline-teisena 

More information: 
President of the Lithuanian Consumer Institute
Zita Čeponytė 
Tel./fax (8-5) 2310711
E-mail: info@vartotojai.lt 
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