Consumer Law and Policy Relating to Change of Circumstances Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, COVID-19 - Consumer Law Research Group

Journal of Consumer Policy (2020) 43(3), DOI: 10.1007/s10603-020-09463-z

20 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2020 Last revised: 20 Aug 2020

See all articles by Richard M. Alderman

Richard M. Alderman

University of Houston Law Center

Alberto De Francesci

Independent

Mark Giancaspro

Adelaide Law School

Geraint Howells

University of Manchester

Lei Chen

Durham Law School

Javier Lete

Independent

Hans‐Wolfgang Micklitz

European University Institute

Emilia Miscenic

University of Rijeka

Tjakie Naude

Law Faculty, University of Cape Town

P. Pichonnaz

Independent

Elise Poillot

Independent

Iain D. C. Ramsay

University of Kent - Kent Law School

Evelyne Terryn

KU Leuven, Consumer Competition Market

Christian Twigg-Flesner

University of Warwick - School of Law

Thomas Wilhelmsson

University of Helsinki - Faculty of Law

Date Written: August 18, 2020

Abstract

An unprecedented number of consumer problems has been caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, not least with regard to refunds of prepayments and the ability of consumers to keep up their monthly payments under loan and rental agreements. Based on a notion of societal force majeure sketched in this paper, we propose guiding principles in respect of the introduction of moratoria on recurring payments, the use of refunds or vouchers in respect of prepayments, and associated enforcement challenges. This analysis draws on experiences around the globe. The COVID-19 pandemic has swept around the world. As well as huge suffering and high numbers of fatalities, it has had a heavy negative economic impact. Millions of consumers around the world are suffering financially, because many have lost their regular income, and many are fighting to obtain refunds of prepayments from struggling businesses whilst having to service loans and rental payments. In this contribution, we, a research group on consumer law with a global reach, offer an initial assessment of the legal difficulties consumers face. We argue for a principles-based way forward and evaluate a range of global initiatives taken thus far.

Keywords: Consumer law, COVID-19, Moratoria, Refunds, Guiding principles

Suggested Citation

Alderman, Richard M. and De Francesci, Alberto and Giancaspro, Mark and Howells, Geraint and Chen, Lei and Lete, Javier and Micklitz, Hans‐Wolfgang and Miscenic, Emilia and Naude, Tjakie and Pichonnaz, P. and Poillot, Elise and Ramsay, Iain D. C. and Terryn, Evelyne and Twigg-Flesner, Christian and Wilhelmsson, Thomas, Consumer Law and Policy Relating to Change of Circumstances Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, COVID-19 - Consumer Law Research Group (August 18, 2020). Journal of Consumer Policy (2020) 43(3), DOI: 10.1007/s10603-020-09463-z, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3676421

Richard M. Alderman

University of Houston Law Center ( email )

4604 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204-6060
United States

Alberto De Francesci

Independent ( email )

Mark Giancaspro

Adelaide Law School ( email )

Ligertwood Building
Adelaide 5005, South Australia SA 5005
Australia

Geraint Howells

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Lei Chen

Durham Law School ( email )

Palatine Centre
South Road
Durham, DH1 3LE
United Kingdom

Javier Lete

Independent ( email )

Hans‐Wolfgang Micklitz

European University Institute

Villa Schifanoia
133 via Bocaccio
Firenze (Florence), Tuscany 50014
Italy

Emilia Miscenic

University of Rijeka ( email )

Hahlic 6
Rijeka, 51000
Croatia

HOME PAGE: http://www.pravri.uniri.hr/files/nastavnici/emiscenic_en.pdf

Tjakie Naude

Law Faculty, University of Cape Town ( email )

Private Bag
Rondebosch 7701
South Africa

HOME PAGE: http://www.privatelaw.uct.ac.za/staff/tnaude/

P. Pichonnaz

Independent ( email )

Elise Poillot

Independent ( email )

Iain D. C. Ramsay

University of Kent - Kent Law School ( email )

Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NS
United Kingdom

Evelyne Terryn

KU Leuven, Consumer Competition Market ( email )

Oude Markt 13
Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant 3000
Belgium

Christian Twigg-Flesner (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - School of Law ( email )

Gibbet Hill Road
Coventry CV4 7AL, CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/people/Christian_Twigg-Flesner

Thomas Wilhelmsson

University of Helsinki - Faculty of Law ( email )

Porthania 5th Floor
P.O. Box 4
Helsinki, FIN-0001 4
Finland
+358 919122216 (Phone)
+358 919123008 (Fax)

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