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Cologne Higher Regional Court: 14-day validity period for mobile stamps is invalid

This post is also available in: Deutsch

Consumer groups successful: Unreasonable disadvantage due to time limit on mobile stamps

The Cologne Higher Regional Court has ruled that Deutsche Post may not limit the validity of its mobile stamps to two weeks. This ruling is a significant victory for consumer centers and consumer protection as a whole. In response, the Postal Service has announced that effective immediately, all mobile stamps will be valid until three years after the year of purchase. Corresponding notes in the general terms and conditions and notice texts will be adjusted in the next few days.

The plaintiff in this case is the umbrella organization of the 16 consumer associations in the German states and 28 other consumer policy associations in Germany. They had argued that the 14-day validity period for mobile stamps unreasonably disadvantaged buyers and was therefore invalid.

Deutsche Pos offers consumers a so-called mobile stamp, also known as a “postage code”, as proof of payment of the carriage charge. Purchase and payment of this mobile stamp are made by consumers via their own app.

Judgment confirmed: Validity period of mobile stamps must exceed 14 days

The Cologne Regional Court had already ruled in favor of the consumer protectors in 2022. Now, the Cologne Higher Regional Court has also confirmed this ruling and determined that limiting the validity of mobile stamps to 14 days unreasonably disadvantages buyers and is therefore invalid.

The court found that the short expiration period violates the equivalence ratio of performance and consideration, since the customer pays the price but is only entitled to the consideration for a limited period of time. By limiting the validity to 14 days, the claim for performance is reduced to about 1% of the statutory limitation period.

The court could not identify any higher-ranking or at least equivalent interests of Deutsche Post in the two-week deadline. The inappropriateness of the GTC also follows from the fact that the customer does not receive any service if the 14-day period is missed.

The judgment of the Cologne Higher Regional Court of June 13, 2023 (Case No. 3 U 148/22) is final. The appeal to the Federal Court of Justice was not admitted.

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.


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