Selling price and returnable packaging: in between (un)solved conflicts and incoherencies (C-543/21 Verband Sozialer Wettbewerb)

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Abstract

Imagine the following situations: a consumer enters a supermarket and purchases drinking water for a selling price of 1 EUR, including value-added tax (VAT). Separately, there is a note that the drinking water is sold in returnable bottles, and the consumer must pay an additional amount of 0,25 EUR as a deposit for the bottle. Such an amount is refundable upon the return of the bottle, but the consumer has no alternative besides buying the drinking water with a returnable bottle. What should be the selling price of this specific drinking water? Could the amount payable for the returnable bottle not be integrated into the final price of a product unit?

In Verband Sozialer Wettbewerb, the Court of Justice was asked to answer whether the concept of ‘selling price’ in Article 2(a) of Directive 98/6/EC on consumer protection in the indication of the prices of products offered to consumers would be compatible abovementioned selling arrangement in Germany. In an unprecedented decision, the Court concludes that the concept of ‘selling price’ in this Directive does not include the deposit amount payable for returnable containers or packages.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEU Law Live Weekend Edition
Issue number152
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2023

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