Onlineshopping: Payment must be made free of charge

Fotolia © vegeOnlineshopping – As of January 2017, online and offline merchants are no longer allowed to charge fees for current payment methods. These include credit card payment, direct debiting and transfer.

Onlineshopping becomes easier

With the amendment of § 270a German Civil Code (BGB), an important change will take effect on January 13, 2017 in online and offline shops. Traders are not allowed to charge fees for standard payment methods from this date. Under “usual”, the legislator specifically defines payment by credit card, debit card, bank transfer and direct debit.

So far, the legal situation provides that charges may be levied for certain types of payment, as long as at least one reasonable option is available free of charge. As a result, credit card payments are often subject to fees in many on-line shops, such as the payment of air travel or the purchase of high-priced items.

No fees for common cash

The new law states:

An agreement by which the debtor is obliged to pay a fee for the use of a SEPA base card, a SEPA company card, a SEPA transfer or a payment card is invalid. Sentence 1 applies to the use of payment cards only for payment transactions with consumers […]

Whether the new regulation also affects the popular payment options PayPal and Amazon Payment is not yet clarified. The Law Firm Dr. Bahr assumes that the two means of payment are included, since here the payment usually takes place by SEPA direct debit or credit card. “The fact that with these payment methods the payment is however usually. Either by SEPA or by credit card debit, clearly indicates the applicability of the new provision. At the most, where the payments are made in a different way (eg through credit balances), a different assessment might be legally conceivable “, states.




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