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AGB – General Terms and Conditions in Germany

German Commercial law, Company law, Agent law, Business law, Corporate law, Finance law, Sales representatvive law, Transport law, Shipping law, CSIG, INCOTERMS, Tax law, European Commercial law

What should you know about the GTC Regulation in Germany?

General terms and conditions (GTC) are all pre-formulated contractual terms for a number of contracts which one contracting party (user) provides to the other contracting party when concluding a contract, according to section 305 (1) sentence 1 of the German Civil Code (BGB). GTCs are therefore unilaterally stipulated regulations by one contracting party which are used for several contracts. They are part of the respective contract. The legal regulations are found in sections 305 to 310 BGB.

Individual contract clauses are to be distinguished from GTC. These are contractual provisions negotiated between the contracting parties on a case-by-case basis, which are therefore not unilaterally prescribed by one of the contracting parties. Individual contract clauses take precedence over GTC pursuant to Section 305b BGB.

General terms and conditions are copyrighted texts that may not be used without the author’s permission. It is therefore not permissible to adopt other people’s GTCs without permission.

There is no obligation to use GTCs. Neither in business-to-consumer (B2C) nor in business-to-business (B2B) contracts is there a general obligation to use GTCs. Rather, GTCs serve to simplify and accelerate contracts and their conclusion, since the contractual provisions do not have to be negotiated individually for each contract. In the area of websites and online shops, however, the use of GTC is strongly recommended in order to fulfil information obligations towards consumers (e.g. revocation instructions).

As a rule, GTCs are drawn up by attorneys/legal experts for the specific facts of life and the contractual constellation. In complex constellations, it is urgently recommended to commission your favorite legal team in order to do justice to the facts of life and to obtain legally secure GTCs. Contact us. Horak. Attorneys-at-law it the legal support you need. 

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