I am interested in the interplay of the EU directive 93/13/EEC and the Consumer Rights Act 2015 in the UK.
Specifically the Consumer Rights Act has an exclusion from assessment of fairness where the clause specifies the main subject matter of the contract. But this is not mentioned in the directive so seems to severely limit the applicability of the directive.
I am interested because we have a mortgage that changed from a fixed rate to a tracker but the tracker has a floor preventing the rate from falling below a certain level. The floor is clearly outlined in the contract for the mortgage, however, we were unaware of it when we signed and actually assumed we have been repaying at a lesser rate than what we were.
I would like to argue that the floor introduced a significant unfair imbalance as it protected the lender from a reduction in the base rate without providing us with protection from raising rates.
It seems many Spanish mortgages with similar "floor" contracts have had the floor nullified for similar reasons and they seem to be referring to the EU directive.
I have also come across a EU Court of Justice ruling regarding the directive which states:
the concept of ‘significant imbalance’ to the detriment of the consumer must be assessed in the light of an analysis of the rules of national law applicable in the absence of any agreement between the parties, in order to determine whether, and if so to what extent, the contract places the consumer in a less favourable legal situation than that provided for by the national law in force. To that end, an assessment of the legal situation of that consumer having regard to the means at his disposal, under national law, to prevent continued use of unfair terms, should also be carried out;
in order to assess whether the imbalance arises ‘contrary to the requirement of good faith’, it must be determined whether the seller or supplier, dealing fairly and equitably with the consumer, could reasonably assume that the consumer would have agreed to the term concerned in individual contract negotiations.
That seems to suggest that a court would need to consider if I would have accepted the terms if I had been able to negotiate them with assistance of professional advice which would have been unlikely due to the one sided nature of the clause.
UK law would seem to make the floor legally valid regardless of fairness because the floor was a "main part" of the agreement which means it is excluded from the fairness test.
I am a bit out of my depth and definitely do not understand how an EU directive / ruling could affect my argument. However, is it the case that the EU directive / EU Court ruling can override the UK law?
I would greatly appreciate any advice as to how best to formulate my argument with my lender or if I really don't have a leg to stand on from a legal perspective.