Customers can pay how they want

Status: 02.12.2021 12:53 p.m.

Businesses are not allowed to charge fees for electronic payments. The European Court of Justice decided that and thereby strengthened consumer rights.

In electronic payment transactions, companies are not allowed to charge additional fees from customers who do not pay their bills by direct debit. Such costs have generally been prohibited since 2018, as the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in Luxembourg today.

The EU Payment Services Directive stipulates that customers may not be asked to pay for certain payment methods from a service provider. This directive did not come into force until January 13, 2018, but the ban also applies to contracts that were previously concluded and continued, according to the highest civil court in the European Union.

The consumer association is suing Vodafone

In the specific case, Vodafone Kabel Deutschland had asked for a self-payer flat rate of 2.50 euros if customers pay their bills themselves using SEPA transfer and their contract was concluded before January 2018. Customers with newer contracts do not have to pay the flat rate.

The Federation of German Consumer Organizations (vzbv) had sued against it. The Munich Higher Regional Court then asked the ECJ to interpret the relevant EU law more precisely.

Judgment also applies to card payments

The ECJ also ruled that the prohibition of payment fees covers all payments with credit and debit cards (e.g. EC cards) as well as by transfer and direct debit.

However, the relevant regulations – and thus also the judgment – do not apply to cash payments.

Az: C-484/20

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