Banks: Consumer advocates urged to pay fees after NBB ruling

In the Postbank case, the Federal Court of Justice ruled at the end of April that fee increases may not be charged if the customer remains silent. However, reimbursement for erroneously paid fees appears to be slow – so consumer advocates are threatening further legal steps.

“Banks should actively communicate with their customers and pay the wrongly charged fees in a non-bureaucratic way,” said Klaus Muller, head of the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV). With the BGH ruling on unacceptable changes to the contract, consumers are entitled to a refund of the wrongly charged fees.

At the end of April, the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled in actions involving Deutsche Bank’s Postbank that banks must obtain their customers’ consent to make changes to the general terms and conditions. The clause under which financial institutions can presume tacit consent if customers do not object to the change within two months, and unfavorably unfavorable customers. Many bank customers can now claim a refund of part of the fee that was overpaid.

Deutsche Bank wants to return 100 million euros

Consumer advocates have called on customers to inform the federal union via an anonymous online portal how their bank or thrift bank reacted to the BGH Bank ruling. “After the assessment, the VZBV will decide whether, how and against whom to take further judicial action.”

It may be possible to perform what is called a typical demonstration procedure. This vehicle has been around since November 1, 2018. It should make it easier for consumers to enforce their rights. You then don’t have to sue yourself, but you can join a typical Consumer Association lawsuit without a lawyer. In such cases, the referee clarifies the essential questions and is binding on all.

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A number of banks have already prepared themselves for high costs as a result of the Karlsruhe judge’s decision. Deutsche Bank plans to allocate €100 million for potential reclamation operations in the second quarter and expects a total fee of €300 million. According to Chief Financial Officer Bettina Orlob, Commerzbank is preparing to provide “in the double-digit million range” for the second quarter of 2021.

File number: XI ZR 26/20

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