Fees on SEPA transfers for old contracts inadmissible

Fees on SEPA transfers for old contracts inadmissible 1

In a case against Vodafone operated by the VZBV, the Regional Court of Munich has ruled that the ban on fees for SEPA transfers from Section 270a of the German Civil Code (BGB), which entered into force on 13 January 2018, also applies to old contracts concluded before this deadline.
As of 13 January 2018, as a result of the EU’s Second Payment Services Directive, fees for payment by SEPA transfers, SEPA direct debits and credit and debit cards have been prohibited. See also this article.

Vodafone also implements this, but still requires existing customers to pay EUR 2.00 per transfer. The Regional Court of Munich considers this to be ineffective, since the contractual clause unreasonably disadvantages consumers in accordance with Section 307 II of the German Civil Code (BGB). It therefore ordered Vodafone, unless the customer is not a consumer, to no longer rely on the clause when processing contracts already concluded. However, this is still possible for business customers.

The court concluded this to a teleological reduction of Article 229(45) of the EGBGB, which was designed by the legislature as an overperformance rule for the surcharging prohibition in the EGBGB, and ordered that Section 270a of the German Civil Code be applied to all obligations, created as of 13 January 2018. The standard would be partially contrary to the Second Payment Services Directive, in particular the regulatory objective of Type 114, 115 II UA 1.

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