After BGH judgment on loans: Banks do not pay back processing fees
According to the judgment of the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) on the inadmissibility of administrative fees for consumer credit, many banks appear to be blocking repayment requests from their customers.
Which credit agreements are affected by the judgment is still controversial and will not be decided until October.
Consumer advocates and specialist lawyers for banking law criticize credit institutions for their restrictive approach to the treatment of repayment claims. The BGH had ruled that lump-sum processing fees for installment loans were inadmissible, since the processing of the application as well as the examination of the applicant’s creditworthiness was in the interest of the bank anyway. This must therefore be limited to interest.
The excuses of the banks
The range of excuses from credit institutions to defend reimbursement claims is large, according to a Spiegel report. Some institutions insist on having warned borrowers about the charges. Others claim that the remuneration was negotiated individually and was therefore not affected by the BGH judgment, which had criticized the lump-sum nature of administrative fees.
Some institutions also argue that the charge was related to ancillary services related to the loan agreement, which would allow borrowers the right to suspend installments or restructure the current loan agreement at no additional cost.
What borrowers can do
Not surprisingly, banks speculate that a large proportion of borrowers with reimbursement claims will not assert them in the final analysis. If the bank rejects a request for the repayment of, for example, 400, only a small percentage of those affected will take legal action.
Consumer advocates advise affected bank customers therefore, after a rejection by their bank to contact the bank Obdun. Apparently there are complaints about treatment fees. So far, however, it is not foreseeable how the ombudsmen decide. In other questions, a complaint is very often worthwhile for consumers.
The meaning of the fee is overestimated
If a loan agreement has been concluded before 1 January 2011, banks generally refuse any repayment by referring to the period of limitation. Which period of limitation applies is not quite clear. Some consumer advocates consider it possible that the deadline may be ten years. Certainty will only bring a further judgment of the BGH expected in October.
By contrast, it is already certain that processing fees on the German credit market no longer play a role, but nothing important has changed at the same time. Banks have abolished their fees at the latest after the ruling of the BGH and replaced by a higher, nominal borrowing rate, so that the effective interest rate remained constant. Apart from reimbursement claims resulting from past contracts, the occasionally heated debate seems rather insubstantial.