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Sweden: Employee’s Purchase from Employer creates a Consumer Relationship with the Employer

A recent Labour Court ruling found that an employee, who had purchased heat pumps from his employer, was considered to have acted as a consumer in relation to the employer when he bought the heat pumps. The employee bought the pumps in 2012 and 2013, but did not pay for them. When the employment ended in 2018, the employer demanded payment for the pumps. Since the statutory limitation period for consumer purchases is three years, the Labour Court ruled that the claim was time-barred.

An employee had, during his employment, purchased two heat pumps for personal use from his employer in 2012 and 2013. The employee had ordered the heat pumps from the supplier used by the employer, and the cost for the pumps was invoiced to the employer, who paid the invoice. The employee did not pay for the heat pumps in connection with the purchase, and when his employment with the company ended in 2018, the employer demanded payment. The employee stated that the claim was time-barred since the statutory limitation period for consumer purchases is three years. The employer filed a lawsuit against the employee claiming that the purchase should be considered an employment benefit related to his employment agreement and not a consumer purchase.

The Labour Court found that the sale of heat pumps and other equipment for heating, was part of the employer’s regular business, and that the employee had purchased the pumps in accordance with the company’s routines for discounted employee purchases. Further, the Court stated that the right to discounted employee purchases should be assumed to be based on an assessment by the company, that the beneficial purchase conditions contribute to a general employee loyalty towards the employer. The purchases should therefore be considered to be part of the professional business of the company as defined in the Swedish Consumer Sales Act. The Court concluded that, in light of the above, the employee was a consumer in relation to the employer and that the statutory limitation period for consumer purchases was applicable. The Court ruled that, since more than three years had passed since the purchase, the claim was time-barred.



For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Sweden, please contact Robert Stromberg (Partner) of Cederquist at robert.stromberg@cederquist.se or visit www.cederquist.se.