25 February 2020
Amendments to the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) concerning the consumers and their creditors
The Bulgarian Parliament adopted material changes in CPC aiming to create additional guarantees for the consumers in cases of court procedures initiated against them by traders and banks.
In the Order for Payment Proceeding
After the latest amendments in the Order for Payment Proceeding, the court shall examine ex officio whether there are unfair terms in the consumer contracts. Traders offering goods and services, carrying out commercial activity in the private or in the public sector, suppliers in the chain of supply of goods to end consumers, banks, other financial institutions and monopolies shall be obliged to present a copy of the concluded consumer contract under which they are claiming receivables, along with the applicable general terms and conditions, if any. Failure to comply with the said requirement may serve as a ground for refusing the issuance of enforcement order or for canceling the decree for issuance an immediate enforcement order.
The Order for Payment Proceeding has been introduced in the CPC in order to ensure a way for prompt obtaining of a writ of execution and this is the reason why it is preferred by the business, namely in light of the fact that it is a swift and simplified procedure for recovering receivables from consumers. Before the adoption of the new amendments, traders, banks etc. only had to file an application for enforcement order, as the court merely examined whether the formal criteria determined by the law is met and did not review the application on the merits.
In the General Claim Proceeding
As a response to the controversial court practice established so far, from now on cases against consumers brought before the court shall be reviewed only as civil ones following the general claim procedure and not as commercial ones. This supplementation to the provisions of the CPC is aiming to grant the consumers maximum protection in case the creditors decide to file a claim against the debtor instead of initiating the Order for Payment Proceeding. From legal point of view, this is relevant for the subsequent access to cassation, the statutory terms for lodging a defense to the filed claim, etc.