On April 29, 2015, the Federal Court of Justice again ruled on a matter dealing with the law pertaining to General Terms and Conditions. The matter concerned General Terms and Conditions according to which the claims of the purchaser due to defects in material became time-barred
On April 29, 2015, the Federal Court of Justice again ruled on a matter dealing with the law pertaining to General Terms and Conditions. The matter concerned General Terms and Conditions according to which the claims of the purchaser due to defects in material became time-barred one year from the delivery of the purchased goods. In respect to damage claims, reference was made to another article of the General Terms and Conditions, where no restriction was placed on the limitation of time, so that in this respect the regular limitation period of two years applied.
The Federal Court of Justice deems this provision to be lacking in transparency altogether. An average contractual partner could not learn whether damage claims with respect to defective subsequent performance could no longer be asserted after one year, either, or whether the regular two-year period would apply. The arguments brought forward are, however, not compelling. The Federal Court of Justice emphasizes repeatedly that the business may reject subsequent performance after expiry of one year after delivery without violating its obligations. The Court does not make a clear distinction, however, between the emergence of the claim to subsequent performance and the claim to damages due to inadequate performance of the subsequent performance. Both claims can easily have different limitation periods.
Practical tip: Despite questionable arguments, the judgment must be respected. In order to avoid warnings, the General Terms and Conditions should be checked with respect to the shortening of the warranty period in connection with the provision on damage claims and be adapted where required.