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Premium savings contracts: BGH again strengthens consumer rights

Ac­cord­ing to a rul­ing by the Fed­eral Court of Justice on Oc­to­ber 6, 2021, savers who have con­cluded premium sav­ings con­tracts can now de­mand money back.

This is how the judges in Karls­ruhe ruled on the first model de­clar­at­ory ac­tion brought by con­sumer pro­tec­tion groups con­cern­ing un­law­ful clauses on vari­able in­terest rates in many older premium sav­ings con­tracts. The rul­ing now gives con­sumers a tailwind.

The con­tracts in ques­tion are premium sav­ings con­tracts con­cluded mainly in the 1990s and 2000s, which con­tain clauses en­titling the banks to ad­just the in­terest rate largely uni­lat­er­ally and freely. As a res­ult, savers re­ceived too little in­terest over many years.

As early as 2004 and 2010, the Fed­eral Su­preme Court de­clared these in­terest rate ad­just­ments in­valid be­cause they were too opaque for cus­tom­ers. The banks then changed the in­terest rate clauses – but to the det­ri­ment of con­sumers. As a res­ult, the Leipzig con­sumer as­so­ci­ation has now taken legal ac­tion all the way to the Fed­eral Court of Justice.

The XI Civil Sen­ate now de­cided that the clauses are in­valid be­cause of a vi­ol­a­tion of § 308 No. 4 BGB, the chair­man Jür­gen El­len­ber­ger be­came clear to the sav­ings bank: “The sample de­fend­ant has the right to change in the man­ner of a lord of the manor by post­ing in the counter room. That is inadmissible.”

Now the ques­tion of the ref­er­ence in­terest rate must be cla­ri­fied. For the proper cal­cu­la­tion of the in­terest, the lower court, the OLG Dresden should have already made pre­cise cal­cu­la­tion spe­cific­a­tions, ac­cord­ing to the BGH, which re­ferred the case back to Dresden once again.

In the next months now thus the higher re­gional court must de­term­ine the ref­er­ence in­terest rate, so that savers can cal­cu­late ex­actly, how much money they can still ex­pect from the sav­ings bank.

The spe­cial­ized law­yers of the Kan­zlei Schirp & part­ner from Ber­lin have due to prac­tice of many years for more than 25 years com­pre­hens­ive ex­pert­ise in the bank and cap­ital mar­ket right. As a con­tact per­son for your fur­ther pro­ceed­ings, at­tor­ney Al­ex­an­dra Binia, spe­cial­ist at­tor­ney for bank­ing and cap­ital mar­ket law, and Dr. Wolfgang Schirp will be happy to an­swer any fur­ther ques­tions you may have.

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