Effectiveness of a revocation without consideration of the reasons

The agreement was not reached. The plaintiff then cancelled the purchase contract in due time and returned the mattresses.

The defendant is of the opinion that the plaintiff acted in abuse of rights and that the revocation is therefore invalid. This is because the right of withdrawal in distance selling exists so that the consumer can inspect the goods. However, the plaintiff did not revoke for this reason, but rather to enforce (unjustified) claims from the "low price guarantee".

The action for repayment of the purchase price was successful at all instances. The VIII Civil Senate of the Federal Court of Justice, which is also responsible for sales law, ruled that the plaintiff was entitled to repayment of the purchase price. Civil Senate of the Federal Court of Justice ruled that the plaintiff was entitled to repayment of the purchase price, as he had effectively revoked the purchase contract. This is not contradicted by the fact that the plaintiff's aim was to obtain a lower price for the mattresses. For the effectiveness of the revocation of a purchase contract concluded on the internet, it is sufficient that the revocation is declared in due time. The provisions on withdrawal are intended to give the consumer an effective and easy-to-use right to dissolve the contract. According to the express statutory provision, no reasons need to be given for the revocation. Therefore, it is basically irrelevant for what reasons the consumer exercises his right of withdrawal.

An exclusion of this right of withdrawal, which is not dependent on any further preconditions, on the grounds of abusive conduct on the part of the consumer can only be considered in exceptional cases in which the trader is particularly in need of protection. This may be the case, for example, if a consumer acts fraudulently, e.g. by intending to harm the seller or by acting in a vexatious manner. However, the present case is not comparable to this. The fact that the plaintiff compared prices and offered the defendant not to cancel the contract if he paid the price difference does not constitute an abuse of rights. Rather, this is a consequence of the competitive situation resulting from the right of withdrawal, which is in principle granted without restriction, and which the consumer may use to his advantage.


Judgment of the Federal Supreme Court of 16 March 2016 - VIII ZR 146/15

Lower courts:

AG Rottweil - Judgment of 30 October 2014 (1 C 194/14)

LG Rottweil - Judgment of 10 June 2015 (1 S 124/14)

Source: Press release of the BGH


Goldberg Attorneys at Law 2016

Attorney at Law Michael Ullrich, LL.M. (Information Law)

Specialist lawyer for information technology law

E-mail: info@goldberg.de