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Condición legal del consumidor cuando actúa como persona jurídica

Published by Silvia Valverde in Litigation - Procedural Law & Arbitration, Civil Law comment
Consumidor - Condición legal cuando actúa como persona jurídica

Comentarios sobre la Sentencia del Tribunal Supremo número 307/2019, de 3 de junio de 2019, acerca de la condición legal del consumidor cuando actúa como persona jurídica.

El pasado día 03 de junio de 2019, la Sala de lo Civil del Tribunal Supremo (“TS”) se pronunció sobre la posibilidad de calificar o no como consumidora a una sociedad mercantil que actúa en un ámbito ajeno al de su actividad empresarial y, por tanto, sin ánimo de lucro.

 

Este procedimiento se inicia con la demanda interpuesta por una sociedad mercantil contra una entidad financiera, solicitando la declaración de nulidad de las cláusulas del contrato de préstamo con garantía hipotecaria que habían suscrito que establecían una limitación de la variabilidad del tipo de interés, de forma que, el contrato continuara vigente, pero sin la aplicación en adelante de los límites de suelo y techo.

 

Tanto en primera como en segunda instancia, el órgano judicial declaró la nulidad de dichas cláusulas, y condenó a la entidad financiera a restituir a la sociedad mercantil las cantidades indebidamente cobradas, por entender que la compañía ostentaba la condición de consumidora, al no quedar suficientemente acreditado que ésta actuara con ánimo de lucro. Ante esta situación, la entidad financiera interpuso recurso de casación y recurso extraordinario por infracción procesal ante el TS, cuya resolución da lugar a la sentencia que nos ocupa.

 

El principal objeto de discusión en la presente sentencia es si una sociedad mercantil puede tener o no la consideración legal de consumidor, si se entiende que actúa en un ámbito ajeno al de su actividad profesional y sin ánimo de lucro. El TS para resolver esta cuestión, fundamenta su argumentación principalmente en tres aspectos:

 

i) Los artículos 3 y 4 del Texto Refundido de la Ley General para la Protección de Consumidores y Usuarios (“TRLGCU”).

 

El artículo 3 de la TRLGCU define como consumidor a “las personas jurídicas y las entidades sin personalidad jurídica que actúen sin ánimo de lucro en un ámbito ajeno a una actividad comercial o personal”, mientras que el artículo 4 define como empresario a una “persona física o jurídica que actúa directamente o a través de un tercero con un propósito relacionado con su activad profesional”. A la luz de ambos preceptos, el TS entiende que la compañía no puede ser considerada como consumidora ya que no actúa en un ámbito ajeno al de su actividad, dado que contrajo el préstamo para la financiación de uno de sus proyectos empresariales.

 

ii) La Sentencia del Tribunal Superior de Justicia de la Unión Europea (“TJUE”) de 14 de febrero de 2019, sobre el asunto C-630/17 (Anica Milivojevic versus Raiffeisenbank St. Stefan-Jagerberg-Wolfsberg Egen).

 

El referido asunto se origina con el planteamiento por parte del órgano jurisdiccional remitente de una cuestión prejudicial sobre si una persona física que había celebrado un contrato de crédito bancario con una entidad bancaria, con el fin de financiar unas obras de renovación en su inmueble, que era además su domicilio, para posteriormente prestar en él servicios de alojamiento turístico, podía tener la consideración o no de consumidor.

 

Pues bien, en dicho supuesto el TJUE entiende que la persona física no posee la calificación de consumidor, pues ha quedado demostrado que el contrato de préstamo se ha realizado con el fin de desarrollar una actividad de prestación de servicios de alojamiento a turistas. A este respecto, el TJUE señala que solo podrá considerarse consumidor a una persona física o jurídica cuando ésta celebra un contrato con el propósito de satisfacer sus propias necesidades, en cuyo caso deberá aplicarse un régimen específico establecido para la protección de la parte más débil de la relación contractual.  Por tanto, resulta claro que dicha protección no es aplicable a las personas físicas o jurídicas que celebran contratos cuyo objeto es una actividad profesional.  

 

Por ello, a la luz de este razonamiento del TJUE, el TS entiende que la sociedad mercantil no puede ser considerada como consumidora, al quedar acreditado que la solicitud del préstamo respondía a necesidades propias de su actividad de construcción y explotación de edificios, en concreto, la financiación de la construcción de una nave-industrial.

 

iii) El artículo 116 del Código de Comercio y los artículos 1 y 2 del Real Decreto Legislativo 1/2010, de 2 de julio, por el que se aprueba el texto refundido de la Ley de Sociedades de Capital.

 

Dichos preceptos establecen la clasificación de las sociedades de capital y su carácter mercantil. En este sentido, el TS considera que en el caso de las sociedades de capital se presume el ánimo de lucro, ya que este se constituye como la esencia y razón de la existencia de cualquier sociedad mercantil.

 

Finalmente, para concluir, cabe señalar que el TS indica que no es procedente realizar los controles de transparencia y abusividad de determinadas cláusulas hipotecarias, cuando una de las partes es un empresario que actúa dentro del ámbito de su actividad empresarial, ya que dicho empresario no puede tener la consideración de consumidor, quedando fuera de la protección jurídica de la que gozan los consumidores.

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