A vueltas con la nulidad de la renuncia por consumidores

renuncia

 

The waiver by consumers may be declared void to cause a significant imbalance in the rights and obligations of the parties to the detriment of consumers and users, against the requirements of good faith

 

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It not always voids the clause stating the renunciation of the exercise of actions or claims consumers. It is important to take into account certain requirements to make it valid.

The Supreme Court in its judgment 137/2019 of 6 March 2019 It has been spoken about. A marriage acquired securities of a financial institution. several periods of losses occur in the value of securities. Finally, They accepted an offer from the company to recoup some of the economic investment. So good, acceptance supposed, mandatorily, the waiver of the right to exercise actions or claims against the entity.

Antecedentes

Ms. Herminia and D. Adolfo, signed the 31 January 2006 an order of acquisition 12 subordinated debt securities Bank of Spain Caja Salamanca y Soria Investment SAU (onwards, Ceiss). They were exchanged on the 21 January 2008 By others 12 subordinated debt securities. The latter with a nominal value of 1.000 euros each, making a total of 12.000 euros.

In May 2013 they traded, mandatorily, the titles 10.800 contingent convertible bonds into shares of Banco Ceiss. These securities were worth a 1 euro each. Making a total of 10.800 euros, which resulted in an economic loss.

The 29 November 2013, They received an offer from Ceiss. They traded, voluntarily, their 10.800 bonds 1.555 contingently convertible bonds necessary and Unicaja Banco, plus 1.555 convertible perpetual bonds in Banco Unicaja. Each of these bonds had a nominal value 1 euro. Making a total of 3.110 euros, which meant a great economic loss. But, this offer was conditional, among others:

– Obtaining a minimum threshold of acceptance by the recipients (namely, other investors in the same situation).

– Acceptance of reducing the nominal value of securities.

the implementation of a mechanism for review by the Governing Committee of the Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring was reflected in the offer document (onwards, FROB). If you had reached the minimum acceptance threshold, the review mechanism was initiated. It was that the Bondholders Ceiss Bank could obtain an additional amount for the loss on investment. So good, two requirements were added more:

– “Waive any right to claim or legal action or extrajudicial against Unicaja Bank and / or Ceiss and / or bank Ceiss connection with the marketing of hybrid instruments by the latter and the exchange subsequently made by the FROB

– The customer will execute an affidavit of demonstrations.

The 20 December 2013 was the deadline to accept the offer.

The 2 December 2013 D. Adolfo died. his heir, Ms. Innocence, He succeeded to his position.

The 17 December 2013, Ms. Herminia and Ms. innocence signed the affidavit of demonstrations. the act, among other manifestations, He expressed:

IN.- That the holder knows the terms and conditions of the exchange offer UNICAJA BANK, and decided to accept it knowing that it,

– It involves express waiver the exercise of any claim or judicial or extrajudicial present or future action, in the terms included in the prospectus, against CEISS, and / or bank CEISS and / or UNICAJA and / or UNICAJA BANK.

– The effectiveness of the exchange and activation of the review mechanism are conditional upon acceptance percentages obtained by shareholders and bondholders under the terms resulting from the documents received by the holder.

And still:

"Notwithstanding the above, states that:

  1. Investors who accept the exchange offer proposed by Unicaja Banco will significantly reduced the nominal value of the securities received after the exchange by the FROB.
  2. The power of the issuer to unilaterally suspend payment of the coupons is a factor that reduces the value of contingently convertible bonds and necessary and contingently convertible perpetual bonds of Banco Unicaja.
  3. Acceptance of the offer of Unicaja Banco involves waiving any right to claims or lawsuits or extrajudicial against Unicaja and / or Unicaja Bank and / or Ceiss and / or bank Ceiss connection with the marketing of hybrid instruments by the latter and the exchange subsequently made by the FROB. (…)
  4. Last, It must be noted that retail investors who choose not to accept the offer of Unicaja Banco mechanism will be excluded from the FROB plans to implement for reviewing marketing preference shares and / or subordinated debt by banks leading to bank Ceiss. (…)”.

También, the 17 December 2013, were given a letter from the Bank Ceiss in which they were informed that "prevents the assessment consider the operation as convenient ". Thus, Ms. Herminia wrote in the conversion order: “This product is complex and is considered not suitable for me "and, “I have not been advised by Unicaja Bank or by Bank CEISS in this operation”.

The 23 December 2013, Ms. Herminia signed the application form for the application of review mechanism. The expert hired by the FROB to decide the review mechanism (PwC auditors S.l.), He rejected the request for D. Herminia. He justified as: “On the date of the contract for the product ... You met the right profile for the complexity and nature of the investment product CEISS ". They were informed that the next month could file a "Request for Application Mechanism established by Unicaja Banco Accompaniment. this mechanism, should be favorable, would allow him to regain 75% the difference between the face value of the bonds Ceiss and valuation of bonds Unicaja, and "interest differential". Ms. Herminia signed the application but never got an answer.

The 9 September 2014, Ms. Herminia and Mrs. Inocencia filed suit against Unicaja Banco CEISS and S.A. They asked to be declared the invalidity of the renunciation of the exercise of actions, procurement of subordinated debentures annulment Cash in Spain 2006 and 2010 and successive swaps, restoring to the amount of 12.000 inverted euros, along with their fees and interest. Subsidiarily, the termination of contracts requested for breach of the obligations of advice and information, compensation for damages for bad banking practice, or resolution by application of the clause matters stand.

Primera Instancia

The 31 July 2015 the Court of First Instance 2 Valladolid gave judgment 145/2015. He dismissed the claim. He considered that the resignation of shares Contained in the notarial certificate was valid. He condemned the applicants to pay the costs.

Provincial Court

The applicants appealed. Ceiss Bank opposed the application. The 13 April 2016 the First Section of the Provincial Court of Valladolid gave judgment. He dismissed the appeal because it considered correct ruling of first instance. He condemned the appellants to pay the costs.

Supreme Court

 Ms. Herminia and Mrs. Inocencia filed an extraordinary appeal for procedural infringement and appeal against the judgment of the Provincial Court. In both requested annulment of the resignation of shares and the return of the actions to the instance for the annulment of the contract purchase of financial products will be declared.

 extraordinary appeal for procedural infringement

The only plea was the violation of art. 24 Spanish Constitution (EC), los arts. 10, 82, 83 and 86.7 the revised text of the General Law for the Defense of Consumers and Users (later, TRLGDCU), Article. 3 Directive 93/13 / EEC and the case law that develops. All, concerning the validity of the resignation of shares by a consumer. The resignation of law was made in favor of Banco Ceiss as the review mechanism would only recover part of the investment. Also, It was the FROB who decided who had access to the review, because the arbitrator chosen (Price Waterhouse) He was auditor of the bank for years. Se argumentó en el recurso que eran “renuncias condicionadas, genéricas, inciertas, indeterminadas y dependientes del cumplimiento de un tercero vinculado al FROB y Unicaja”, siendo nulas de pleno derecho.

La Sala desestimó el motivo del recurso. Consideró que las alegaciones de las recurrentes se referían a cuestiones sustantivas (vice, error, abuse of rights, infracción requisitos de renuncia válida de derechos). La Sala determinó que tales alegaciones deberían haber sido planteadas en el recurso de casación. En el recurso por infracción procesal solo podía tratarse la infracción de la jurisprudencia constitucional sobre la incompatibilidad de la renuncia de derechos y el art. 24 EC. La Sala citó su sentencia 65/2009 of 9 March, con cita a la STC 76/1990: “el derecho fundamental a la tutela judicial efectiva tiene ‘carácter irrenunciable e indisponible’, lo que no impide que pueda reputarse constitucionalmente legítima la renuncia a su ejercicio cuando ello redunde en beneficio del interesado…”. El benefició resultó el acceso al mecanismo de revisión. No existió infracción del derecho a la tutela judicial efectiva. So good, la Sala apreció que sí existía un gran desequilibrio de derechos y obligaciones, pero como cuestión sustantiva debía tratarse por el cauce del recurso de casación.

 Appeal

Se fundamentó en tres motivos. First, infringement of arts. 10, 82, 83 and 86.7 TRLGDCU, art. 3 de la Directiva 93/13/CEE y la jurisprudencia que los desarrolla en el sentido de la válida y eficaz renuncia de acciones. Second, infringement of arts. 1265, 1266 and 1817 CC y art. 7 CCIV. And, el tercero derivado de la existencia de jurisprudencia contradictoria de Audiencia Provinciales sobre la validez de la renuncia de acciones por consumidores, alegando los arts. 10, 82, 83 and 86.7 TRLGDCU, art. 3 de la Directiva 93/13/CEE y arts. 1265, 1266 and 1817 CC y art. 7 CCIV.

En cuanto al primer motivo del recurso de casación. Se citaron sentencias que sí consideraron nula la renuncia de derechos, en concreto de Audiencias Provinciales y del Tribunal Supremo.

La Sala consideró que la renuncia de acciones no infringía el art. 10 del TRLGDCU porque no es una renuncia previa a los derechos que la norma reconoce. But, la renuncia se dio sobre derechos de acciones ya nacidas. He alleged, que las acciones hubieran podido ser ejercitadas por las demandantes, pero no fue el caso. Se renunció con posterioridad al nacimiento de las acciones y no con anterioridad (situación prohibida). So good, la Sala añadió, que aunque no se estaba ante la situación del art. 10 TRLGDCU, la cláusula que recogía la renuncia de acciones o reclamaciones sí podía ser abusiva. Specifically, generaba un “significant imbalance in the rights and obligations of the parties, against the requirements of good faith (art. 82.1 TRLGDCU)”. He added that, no resultaba de aplicación la prohibición del art. 4.2 de la Directiva 93/13/CEE sobre el control del contenido de las cláusulas y por tanto, el mismo podía ser revisado de acuerdo con el art. 82.1 TRLGDCU. He considered the Chamber, los inversionistas no tenían otras alternativas razonables para no perder toda su inversión económica en los bonos del Banco Ceiss. Thus, se vieron obligados a aceptar la ofertada realizada, a pesar de la renuncia a derechos que ello comportaba. “Se trató de la imposición de la renuncia a solicitar tutela judicial efectiva en una situación límite de la que el cliente no es responsable”. Also, estaban sujetos a condiciones imprecisas como, la de obtener la adhesión de un porcentaje de accionistas no determinado. Thus, “la condición general en la que se establece la renuncia de los clientes al ejercicio de cualquier tipo de reclamación o acción judicial o extrajudicial presente o futura, causa un desequilibrio importante en los derechos y obligaciones de las partes en perjuicio del consumidor y usuario, en contra de las exigencias de la buena fe”.

La estimación del primer motivo objeto de recurso, hizo innecesario examinar el resto.

Finally, el alto Tribunal dictó sentencia en la que se anuló la sentencia recurrida y devolvió las actuaciones a la Audiencia Provincial para que se dictara nueva sentencia partiendo de la annulment of the resignation of shares. No hubo imposición de costas en el recurso de casación. En cuanto al recurso extraordinario por infracción procesal, las recurrentes fueron condenadas al pago de las costas.

Conclusion

The resignation al ejercicio de cualquier reclamación o acción judicial o extrajudicial, no siempre va a ser nula. Para que la renuncia sea nula, debe de ejercitarse sobre acciones futuras (art. 10 TRLGDCU), siendo válida la renuncia efectuada sobre acciones ya nacidas y que podían ser ejercitadas. También será nula la renuncia de acciones o reclamaciones, cuando la cláusula que la contenga sea considerada abusiva por producir un desequilibrio entre las partes en perjuicio del consumidor.

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