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Research: BGH prevents “jokers of withdrawal” from kilometer leasing.

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With a trick, lawyers wanted to help numerous motorists by revoking their leasing contract - but now nothing comes of it.

Laut Bundesgerichtshof haben Verbraucher beim Leasen mit Kilometerabrechnung grundsätzlich kein Widerrufsrecht. © Uli Deck / dpa According to the Federal Court of Justice, consumers generally have no right of withdrawal when leasing with kilometer billing.

Because consumers generally have no right of withdrawal when leasing with kilometer billing. The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe clarified this in a model case. So far the legal situation has been unclear. (Az. VIII ZR 36/20)

A different judgment would have been of considerable economic importance for the leasing company, as the presiding judge Karin Milger had said earlier in the hearing. A large number of comparable proceedings are currently pending in the courts. With the revocation, the plaintiffs often want to return all the installments and also do not want to pay for the interim use of the car.

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When leasing the car, the customer does not buy the car, but pays monthly installments for its use over an agreed period, like a rental. He then usually returns the car. There are two models: Either it is agreed how many kilometers the customer is likely to drive. Or it is determined how much the car should still be worth at the end of the term. With both models, it can happen that the customer pays extra when billing.

In contrast to kilometer leasing, it was and is undisputed with residual value leasing that the customer has a right of withdrawal. Such a right exists in many types of contract conclusion. It is designed to protect consumers from making ill-considered decisions. Normally you have 14 days to let everything go through your head in peace - and to back off if you have any doubts.

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For resourceful lawyers, one particular feature is of particular interest: If the consumer is not informed or not properly informed of his right of withdrawal, the 14-day period does not start at all. The contract can then be revoked and reversed after years. In technical jargon this is called the "withdrawal joker".

The case that the BGH judges have now decided is a typical example: the plaintiff had signed his leasing contract at the beginning of 2015. He declared the revocation in March 2018 - because, as he says, there was no mandatory information. He asked the Mercedes Benz leasing company to return around 20,000 euros.

The Stuttgart courts had dismissed the lawsuit - completely right, as the BGH has now ruled. A right of withdrawal is to be denied here "under every legally conceivable point of view". The kilometer leasing does not meet the legal requirements.

The German Civil Code (§ 506 BGB) provides for a right of withdrawal in three cases: if the leasing customer is obliged by contract to buy the car after the term; if the leasing company is entitled to demand it in the end; or if it is leased with a residual value guarantee. This list is final, said Senate Chairwoman Milger. The legislator was based on an EU directive and quite deliberately did not extend the right of withdrawal to all financing transactions.

Daimler did not comment on the specific case and only briefly on the judgment: "We are pleased that our legal opinion has been confirmed by the BGH," said a spokesman.

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