Fälligkeit und Verzug

Erste Veröffentlichung am 22.2.2020, bearbeitet am 17.06.2020

Auf dieser Seite findest du Hintergrundinformationen zu Fälligkeit und Verzug der Hauptforderung und es wird teilweise etwas “technisch”. Aber wenn du weitergehende Argumente und Nachweise brauchst, wirst du hier fündig. Wenn du dagegen nur einen Kurzüberblick suchst, ist unsere Checkliste wahrscheinlich einfacher. 

Fälligkeit der Hauptforderung 

  • Die (Haupt-)Forderung ist normalerweise sofort fällig (§ 271 BGB, Göbel, S 98). Die genaue Fälligkeit hängt aber im Einzelnen von den Vereinbarungen im Vertrag, AGB und Gesetz ab (z.B. für Werkverträge § 641 BGB). Besser nochmal nachschauen, was vereinbart wurde. 
  • Aber: Normalerweise wird die Forderung auf Zahlung erst fällig, wenn die (Gegen-)Leistung erbracht wurde –  also zum Beispiel die (richtige und mangelfreie) Kaufsache geliefert wurde.
    Wenn du die gekaufte Lieferung nicht erhalten hast, musst du grundsätzlich auch nicht bezahlen.
    Im Zweifel raten wir dir nochmal nachzuprüfen, ob vielleicht ein Nachbar oder Familienangehöriger eine Lieferung angenommen hat. Wenn die Lieferadresse nicht stimmt, der Spediteur die Ware einfach vors Haus stellt oder die Lieferung aus sonstigen Gründen im “Nirwana” verschwindet, musst du normalerweise nicht zahlen (Verbraucherzentrale).

Verzug der Hauptforderung

  • An important prerequisite for the assertion of collection costs is the existence of “ default“ . You are then in „arrears“ if you have not paid despite a reminder – or an „equivalent event“. 
    • warning 
      • Any clear and specific request with which the creditor unequivocally expresses that he demands the owed service is sufficient as a reminder justifying the delay; the legal consequences of a delay need not be pointed out (Federal Court of Justice of March 10, 1998 – X ZR 70/96, NJW 1998, 2132, 2133; Federal Court of Justice of October 25, 2007 – III ZR 91/07, NJW 2008, 50; Palandt/ Heinrichs, BGB, § 286 para. 17); eg „Please pay within 2 weeks“. 
      • Die Mahnung muss in jedem Fall nach Fälligkeit erfolgen (Göbel, 107). Eine Mahnung kann zwar auch mit der Rechnung verbunden werden. Das ist aber die Ausnahme (BGH v. 25.10.2007 – III ZR 91/07, NJW 2008, 50). Die erstmalige Zusendung einer Rechnung – selbst mit Angabe eines Zahlungsziels – ist üblicherweise keine Mahnung (BGH v. 25. Oktober 2007 – III ZR 91/07, NJW 2008, 50). 
      • Die Mahnung muss durch den Gläubiger erfolgen. Wenn ein Dritter mahnt, kann die Mahnung analog § 174 BGB sofort zurückgewiesen werden
      • The reminder must have been received . For this, the creditor is obliged to present and provide evidence (cf. BGH of October 25, 2007 – III ZR 91/07, NJW 2008, 50; Göbel, Inkassokosten, p. 109). Evidence comes primarily from sending it by registered mail – but very few do that (Göbel, Inkassokosten, p. 109). So if you’re not sure if you’ve received a reminder, be careful what you say or write to creditors or collection agencies. 
    • Equivalent events: These act “like a reminder”; in these cases, no reminder is required: 
      • In principle, a lawsuit and an order for payment are a substitute for the reminder. However, this is of little importance for the reminder justifying the default – because the costs for the lawsuit and reminder notice would not be recoverable (Göbel, Inkassokosten, p. 111)
      • Because receiving the reminder can become a problem for the creditor, creditors are increasingly trying to create a contractual situation in which, exceptionally, no reminder is required for default to occur (Göbel, Inkassokosten, p. 109): 
        • The creditor does not have to send an extra reminder if a time according to the calendar is determined for the service. However, such a provision must have been made by legal transaction – usually in the underlying contract – or by law or in a judgment. Unilateral determination of a performance period by the creditor – eg in the invoice – is not sufficient (Federal Court of Justice of October 25, 2007 – III ZR 91/07, NJW 2008, 50; Palandt/Heinrichs, BGB, § 286 para. 22). 
        • In addition , the obligee does not have to send an extra reminder if the performance is preceded by an event and a reasonable time for the performance is determined in such a way that it can be calculated from the event according to the calendar. Examples (according to Göbel, Inkassokosten, p. 115) if the contract or general terms and conditions state: „Payable within 2 weeks of receipt of the invoice“; “Payable within 3 weeks of acceptance”; Payable within 2 weeks after the start of construction”. Here, too, the corresponding clause in the invoice alone is not sufficient to trigger the consequences of default. 
      • In addition, according to Section 286, Paragraph 3 of the German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch – BGB): You are „automatically“ in default no later than 30 days after receipt of an invoice – the day of receipt of the invoice is not counted – if this is expressly stated in the invoice. 
        • The debtor must have received an invoice or equivalent statement of payment . Here, too, the creditor must – as with the reminder – prove receipt of the invoice ( Göbel, Inkassokosten, p. 121 ). 
        • This only applies to so-called “payment claims”. You have to differentiate, especially with loan claims. The demand for interest represents payment for the provision of the capital. In contrast, the obligation to repay the actual capital does not represent payment, so that the claim for repayment cannot lead to default via Section 286 (3) BGB. Monetary claims resulting from an intentional tortious act or unjustified enrichment also do not fall under § 286 Para. 3 BGB (Göbel, Inkassokosten, p. 121 f).
        • Note for consumers : The legal consequences of Section 286 (3) BGB only apply to consumers if they have been specifically advised  of these consequences in the invoice or list of payments .
        • Finally, a general note: A proper and error-free invoice must have been created for the claim . If there is no invoice at all, or if it is completely unclear or grossly incorrect, you may not (yet) have to pay. In addition, you must have actually received the invoice, i.e. it must have arrived in the mailbox or arrived in your e-mail inbox. If you cannot find an invoice: In case of doubt, the collection agency must prove access.
      • In addition, there is basically no default if the claim cannot be enforced :
        • The claim is not enforceable in the case of legal objections, e.g. statute of limitations (§ 214 I BGB)
        • Plea of ​​unfulfilled contract, § 320 BGB 
        • Objection to the granted discharge of residual debt , § 301 InsO (Göbel, p. 123 f)
      • Fault : Finally, according to the law, fault on the part of the debtor is still required – in the case of monetary claims, however, only a few cases are conceivable in which default fails because the debtor is not at fault (Göbel, p. 125 with further references). As a rule, there is fault – and thus also „default“ !
      • Causation: If the conditions for default are met , the damage caused by this (of the provider) must be compensated. So if the provider has to commission a collection agency because of your delay, this is damage (of the provider) that you have to compensate. However, this presupposes – important – the „causality“ of the delay for the damage (of the provider): The debtor only has to compensate for the damage that goes back to the delay (i.e. was „caused“): 
        • However, there is no causality if, for example, the debt collection agency is commissioned to collect the claim out of court before the default occurs, i.e. before the reminder on which the default is based is sent (Göbel, Inkassokosten, p. 143).
        • If the first reminder is not received, for example, the letter from the collection agency can be interpreted as a reminder (but § 174 BGB). But then the remuneration of the debt collection company is not „damage caused by the delay“ – but the event that causes the delay for the first time . The costs for the collection agency are then not causal and also non-refundable. As a „weekend reading“ we recommend this decision of the BGH v. October 25, 2007 – III ZR 91/07, NJW 2008, 50 ( worth reading and can be found here)

 

Sources: Göbel, collection costs, 2016 p 96 ff.; Hartung/Schons/Enders, Lawyers‘ Fees Act Commentary, 2017; Gerold/Schmidt, Lawyers‘ Fees Act, 2017; Consumer Center, https ://www. Verbraucherzentrale.de/wissen/digitale-welt/onlinehandel/was-tun-wenn-meine-onlinebestellung-nicht-ankommen-28083 ; Jäckle/Zimmermann, Audit scheme: Reimbursement eligibility, 2016 at http://fsb-bremen.de/amfiles/Pruefungsschema_Inkassokosten _des_AK_InkassoWatch_Endfassung-15_04_2016.pdf 

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