Case law

  • Case Details
    • National ID: VII ZR 268/05
    • Member State: Germany
    • Common Name:link
    • Decision type: Other
    • Decision date: 22/03/2007
    • Court: BGH (Supreme court)
    • Subject:
    • Plaintiff:
    • Defendant:
    • Keywords:
  • Directive Articles
    Doorstep Selling Directive, Article 1, 1.
  • Headnote
    § 312 BGB applies to contracts on the construction of buildings (continuation of the Federal Court’s judgement of 19 November 1998 – VII ZR 424/97, BauR 1999, 257 = ZfBR 1999, 152).
    An agreement on the payment of services rendered which is void under §§ 3(2), 12 MaBV (Verordnung über die Pflichten der Makler, Darlehens- und Anlagenvermittler, Anlageberater, Bauträger und Baubetreuer – Government ordinance on the obligations of realtors, credit and in-vestment brokers, investment consultants, developers and site managers) in conjunction with § 134 BGB are not substituted by the payment plan under § 3(2) MaBV nor by § 632a BGB, but by § 641(1) BGB (in continuation of the Federal Court’s judgment of 22 December 2000 – VII ZR 310/99, BGHZ 146, 250
    If the purchaser made payments before they were due under the agreement and if by accepting these payments the entrepreneur breached § 3 MaBV, § 813(2) BGB in principle does not with-stand a restitution of these payments under the law of unjust enrichment.
    § 813(2) BGB does, however, apply, if there is no need for restitution because the protection of the purchaser intended by the MaBV has already been achieved otherwise.
  • Facts
    The plaintiff claims the restitution of payments made with respect to a property purchase agreement and a construction agreement, each versus the reassignment of the property. Alternatively, he demands the restitution of the advance payments made. On 19 November 2002 the plaintiff and the defendant concluded a notarised contract on the purchase of piece of real property in B. for the price of EUR 33.748. Before, the parties had concluded a “contract on construction services” dating from 15 November 2002. According to this contract, the defendant was to carry out all of the work needed for the construction of a singly-family house on the property described in the notarised contract of 19 November 2002 as the main contractor for a flat fee of EUR 278.507. Under no. 3.1 of the construction contract, the payment was to be effectuated on the basis of a payment plan, which divided the payment of the lump sum into 9 instalments. The first instalment amounting to EUR 48.061,44 was to be paid 14 days after the conclusion of the contract, the second instalment amounting to EUR 32.211,39 was to be paid upon the completion of the bottom slab. The defendant invoiced the plaintiff with the first instalment on 15 May 2003. The conclusion of the construction contract was not mentioned on the occasion of the notarisation of the purchase agreement. After the purchase price had been paid, the plaintiff was registered as the proprietor on 28 March 2003. In the following, disputes arose between the parties with respect to the completion of the bottom slab. Apart from the purchase price, the plaintiff had at this time paid the first 2 instalments amounting to EUR 48.061,44 and EUR 32.211,39. The plaintiff has stated in the lower instances that the appointment with the notary had been agreed after extensive negotiations. On the way to the notary’s office, the defendant’s managing director had “intercepted” him and lead him to a café. In the café, he had told him that the construction agreement necessarily had to be signed before the notarisation of the purchase agreement to safeguard that the latter went off “without a hitch”. The buyer’s questions had been dodged with a reference to the impending appointment with the notary and pressure of time. Therefore he had signed the construction agreement. In the lower instances the claim for the restitution of his payments amounting to EUR 114.020 versus the reassignment of the unencumbered property was only partially successful.
  • Legal issue
    The Federal Court of Justice has rejected the plaintiff’s appeal on a point of law. The plaintiff was not entitled to a claim for restitution under §§ 346(1) and (2), 312(1)(1) no. 3, 355(1)(1), 357(1)(1) BGB. He had not validly revoked his declaration of intent leading to the conclusion of the construction agreement under §§ 312(1) no. 3, 355(1)(1) BGB. Thus, there was also no reason to wind up the property purchase agreement on the basis of § 139 BGB. § 312 BGB did indeed apply to the construction agreement. The application of § 312 BGB was not barred by the fact that in Art. 3(2) of the Directive 85/577/EEC to protect the consumer in respect of contracts negotiated away from business premises of 20 December 1985 contracts for the construction and sale of immovable property were exempted from the directive’s scope of application. Art. 8 of the Directive 85/577/EWG enabled the member states to adopt or maintain more favourable provisions to protect consumers. § 312 BGB was such a provision more favourable to a consumer, since its scope of application was wider than that of the directive. However, it could not be coherently deduced from the plaintiff’s statement of the case, that he had been “induced” to the conclusion of the construction agreement in the terms of § 312(1)(1) no. 3 BGB. § 312 required that the doorstep situation was at least concurrently causative for the consumer’s declaration of intent leading to the conclusion of the contract. The plaintiff had stated in the claim form that prior to the alleged signing of the contract in the café, negotiations had already taken place. This was not necessarily excluding the causality of the doorstep situation for the declaration. If negotiations between the parties had preceded the formal signing of the contract in a place mentioned in § 312(1)(1) no. 1-3, a concurrent causality could be assumed, if the consumer had not concluded the contract with this content (or nor at all) without the doorstep situation. However, these requirements were not met, if the parties already had generally agreed on the contract details due to the preceding negotiations. The plaintiff had not stated that during the alleged doorstep situation contract details which were to be discussed on the occasion of the notarisation had still been remaining unclear.
  • Decision

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