Cancellation Policy / Right of Withdrawal
The new German Distance Selling Act (Fernabsatzgesetz, FernAbsG)
The newly adopted German Distance Selling Act (Fernabsatzgesetz or FernAbsG for short) provides for a general right of withdrawal or return for the buyer in which the customer and the buyer are not in direct physical or face-to-face contact. Among others, reservation services such as the purchase of admission tickets are exempt from the new German Distance Selling Act:
"This law does not apply to contracts... ... for the provision of services in the areas of accommodation, transportation, delivery of food and beverages, and recreational activities if, at the time the contract is concluded, the contractor commits to providing said services at a determined point in time or within a specified period of time."
Following a judgment by the Local Court of Munich dated Dec 2, 2005 ruling that ordering admission tickets via the Internet or by telephone is beyond the scope of the German Distance Selling Act.
It may be true that in such cases the sales agreement is concluded by telephone and email rather than in person. However, not every sale of this type is subject to the provisions that apply to distance contracts. As the law stands, if the seller renders services in the area of recreational activities - as in this case for the delivery of admission tickets for a specific point in time - the provisions regarding distance contracts, and in particular the right to withdraw, do not apply. It is not necessary for the seller to be the party providing the service, the event at 'Spiegelzelt' in this case. This exception also applies to the sale of tickets for this event.
The judgment is final. Regional Court I of Munich has withdrawn the appeal. The German Federal Court of Justice also dismissed the appeal.
- Judgment of the Local Court of Munich dated 12/2/2005, ref.no. (AZ) 182 C 26144/05 -
Sections 312 b et seq. of the German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, or BGB for short) contain provisions regarding distance contracts. These are defined as contracts between a company and a consumer concluded by means of distance communication, for example: telephone, email, telecopies, letters, catalogs, broadcasts, teleservices, and media services. When a contract is concluded in this manner, the consumer is considered to be especially worthy of protection, as the contractual partner and the product sold by that contractual partner are "invisible", meaning that the buyer does not have any physical contact with them. Therefore, the German Civil Code grants the consumer, among other things, a right to withdrawal.
Nevertheless, this does not apply to contracts of this nature. One of the exceptions includes contracts for services entailing recreational activities, therefore including the sale of tickets, Section 312 b III no. 6 German Civil Code. As the time of fulfillment - in this case the date of the event - is specified, granting the right to withdraw, which could possibly be enforced shortly before the event, would constitute a disproportionate burden for the seller of the ticket.
According to the verdict by the Local Court of Munich, ordering admission tickets is a legally binding contract that, even if concluded by telephone or via the Internet, is not within the scope of the German Distance Selling Act and, therefore, the customer does not have a right to withdrawal.
In conclusion, ordering admission tickets is a binding order.