Gym, concert tickets, plane tickets: Many are currently wondering what to pay. An excursion into the law jungle.
Already paid for everything, and suddenly we are no longer allowed out. What can you do there? We got some legal advice.
The corona virus is currently ubiquitous. Almost every area of life is affected by the virus or by measures to combat it. But the closure of bars, clubs, schools, day-care centers, sports clubs and many other facilities not only restrict our everyday lives. They also affect many contractual relationships.
Many now legitimately ask themselves the question: What happens to my current memberships? Do I still have to pay my gym fees even though I can’t use the facility at all? And what about already paid concert or festival tickets, travel tickets or other services? We asked a lawyer about these questions. He has given us a number of related legislative bodies that you can use to make yourself smart.
The pandemic as “force majeure”?
The view that anyone who wants to break away from an existing contractual relationship due to the Corona crisis can rely on “force majeure” is widespread. “Force majeure” means circumstances that are beyond the control and influence of the contractual partners. And because neither my gym nor I could have prevented or stopped the corona pandemic, the circumstances in many cases should correspond to the term “force majeure”.
However, German civil law applies to most everyday contracts. And that basically does not know the idea of delivery due to “force majeure”. The appeal to “force majeure” therefore usually works. only if the respective contract or the underlying terms and conditions contain a “force majeure” clause, which expressly defines which events count as “force majeure” and what happens when they occur.
In all other cases, the so-called “power disruption right” of the German Civil Code (BGB) applies:
What if the service provider cannot deliver?
Assume that I have ordered a washing machine or other product that is dependent on supplies. Then it may be that the delivery cannot take place within the specified period due to border closures or plant closures. The supplier may then refer to a so-called “temporary impossibility”. If he does so rightly, his performance obligations according to § 275 BGB are temporarily suspended. As a customer, I can then refuse my consideration, in this case payment. After a deadline may have been set, I can even withdraw from the contract and request a down payment.
What if the reason is an official ban?
The travel and event industry is currently particularly affected by official instructions and bans. If a concert organizer is prohibited from carrying out the planned event, his contractual obligations as organizer are also suspended in accordance with Section 275 (1) BGB. Anyone who has already bought a ticket can then request the ticket price back in accordance with Section 326 (1) BGB.
As always when it comes to legal questions, the circumstances of the individual case are also decisive in times of the corona virus. Therefore, before you withdraw from a contract, cancel it or refuse to pay, you should seek legal advice. It usually costs less than expected and is always cheaper than an expensive litigation.
And depending on the amount that you might be blown away, you can also think in individual cases about possibly supporting the company concerned by waiving your right to reimbursement. The local theater, for example, would be grateful to you!
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