Button labelled ‘order with obligation to pay’ - CJEU decision (C‑249/21)

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In case of a distance contract concluded by electronic means, just how literal does the text on a button or similar function used to conclude contract has to be to bind a consumer?

In its recent decision (C‑249/21) the Court focused on the issue at hand. The issue is raised by Art. 8 (2) of the Directive on Consumer Rights, which provides: “If a distance contract to be concluded by electronic means … the button or similar function [used for conclusion of the distance contract] shall be labelled in an easily legible manner only with the words ‘order with obligation to pay’ or a corresponding unambiguous formulation indicating that placing the order entails an obligation to pay the trader.”

The million-dollar question is whether the button must actually read ‘order with obligation to pay’ or is ‘complete booking’ unambiguous enough? To keep things short, the text ‘complete booking’, is not enough, as it does not unequivocally convey the message that the consumer will be contractually bound. The Court therefore leans towards stricter interpretation of the above-mentioned article. Arguing that a consumer must be able to interpret her obligation to pay just from the words appearing on the button or similar function without taking anything else into consideration.