Consumer protection wins over Lyconet: But when will the judgment be implemented?  

Although the Vienna Commercial Court has ruled that Lyconet’s general terms and conditions are invalid, they are still being used. Even the required publication in a national newspaper (KRONEN-Zeitung) has not yet appeared. There is not even a warning function on the website of the Austrian consumer association, everything seems to have fizzled. We believe that the public has a right to be informed immediately about the legally binding judgment so that they can act accordingly.  

Excerpt from the judgment of the Vienna Court of Justice:

The plaintiff (VKI) is authorized to publish the part of the judgment to the extent of the injunctive relief and the authorization to publish the judgment once within six months of the judgment becoming final in a Saturday edition of the editorial section of the “Kronen-Zeitung”, nationwide edition, at the defendant’s expense and in bold type in normal letters, i.e. in the same size as the body text of editorial articles.

The ‘legitimate interest’ in the publication of the judgment in the case of a representative action under the Consumer Protection Act lies in the fact that legal transactions or consumers as a whole have the right to be informed that certain terms and conditions are set or immoral. This information raises consumers’ awareness of the inadmissibility of contractual elements and makes it easier for them to exercise their rights against the trader.

The publication of judgments is also intended to prevent the further proliferation of unlawful contract terms. The desired publication in the “Kronen Zeitung” as a national daily newspaper with the notoriously widest reach is also necessary to achieve these publication purposes, as the defendant (Lyconet) also offers its “marketer contracts” on the www to an extremely large group of people throughout Austria.

The delay of the consumer protection association VKI is also incomprehensible because, for example, a major media event was organized in the case of a judgment against an Austrian mobile phone provider, where a few euros in service flat rates were at stake. However, Lyconet is dealing with extremely large sums of money that have been and continue to be lost by consumers.

However, this was already the case in 2017, as all the GTCs used by Lyoness/Lyconet up to that point were also declared null and void. In a personal conversation on July 27, 2017, between Mr. Ecker and the consumer protection lawyer Ms. Wolff, it was explained that the consumer protection association had reached a “silent agreement” with Lyoness. Lyoness promised to pay out the injured parties in return for which the consumer protection association would refrain from publishing and issuing warnings about Lyoness in the media. A class action lawsuit was launched by the VKI with media impact, and hundreds came forward. But only a handful of claimants were actually paid out, the rest of the claimants received nothing, and the consumer protection association had to grudgingly refer the claimants to lawyers and third parties. Absolutely disgraceful.

This only gives Lyoness what Lyoness (then Lyconet) always needs, namely time. It’s hard to believe, but the Vienna Consumer Protection Association collected injured parties as part of its own class action and employed them on behalf of Lyoness. Unbelievable.

Incidentally, the Supreme Court ruling was not published in the highest-circulation daily newspaper (as stipulated in the ruling) at that time either!

There is an urgent need for action on the part of the court to ensure that a legally binding judgment is implemented as quickly as possible. We are currently conducting a legal review of the Consumer Protection Association’s action. An inquiry regarding this remained unanswered.

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