The subdistrict court in Amsterdam ruled last week that the customer was right, but the ruling was only published yesterday. According to the Consumers’ Association, the ruling can have far-reaching consequences, but Vattenfall itself says that it concerns one case of an individual customer.
Not able to switch quickly
It’s all about the fact that Vattenfall raised prices several times last year, while the energy supplier’s website states that this can only happen twice a few years with a variable contract. A price increase, effective April 1 last year, was also announced only ten days earlier. That was too short in advance, the customer thought.
Vattenfall itself says that the war in the Ukraine created a special situation that had never occurred before. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, gas prices on the gas markets rose sharply, as a result of which Vattenfall had to deal with extremely high purchase prices.
But the Amsterdam court does not agree with that reasoning. Because Vattenfall announced the change so shortly in advance, it was no longer possible for the customer to quickly switch to another energy supplier, for example.
‘Could have far-reaching consequences’
“It is also important that the court indicates that it is only clear what is meant by exceptional circumstances when there is an actual rate change. This should already be clear to the consumer when entering into a contract,” a spokesperson for the Consumers’ Association told ANP news agency. .
“This can therefore have far-reaching consequences for the energy suppliers who changed the rates more often than twice a year on the basis of this unfair change clause.”
‘Terms and conditions are clear’
The court has prohibited Vattenfall from implementing the rate increase of 1 April 2022 for the customer. But Vattenfall disagrees with the ruling and is considering an appeal. “We believe that the general terms and conditions clearly describe in which cases the rates may be changed,” a spokesperson responds.