The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) has declared blanket clauses in Riester contracts ineffective, according to which “closing and brokerage costs” may arise when pensions are paid out. The BGH ruled on Tuesday that the clause that was used in the special conditions of the savings banks was not transparent and therefore represented an unreasonable disadvantage for consumers. This is definitely a success for savers.
The court thus ruled in favor of the Baden-Württemberg consumer advice center. She had sued because the customer could not estimate what costs he would incur when paying out the pension. According to the consumer organization, the Savings banks There are now no more Riester contracts. But the ruling has significance for current policies.
Riester contracts are intended to enable additional private retirement pensions and are therefore tax subsidized. After a payment phase, the money can be paid out as a monthly pension. The savings bank reserved the right to charge a fee for this. The special conditions, which the BGH interpreted as general terms and conditions (GTC), literally stated: “If an annuity is agreed, the saver may be charged for closing and/or brokerage costs.” The savings bank only wanted to understand the clause as a reference, not as a general terms and conditions, as its lawyer said in the hearing before the BGH. In this case, judicial review would not have been possible due to unreasonable disadvantage.
But the XI responsible for banking law. The Civil Senate of the BGH sees it differently. It’s about how the customer understands it. This is not a non-binding declaration. The saver understands this to mean that he can be asked to pay brokerage costs for an annuity, although the amount is unclear.