In the past few months, many building society savers have received mail from their building society. Surprisingly, she wants money. For example, LBS West wrote to an unknown number of customers in the spring: “The general terms and conditions for building society savings contracts (ABB) agreed with you provide for a regular monthly contribution.” According to this contribution, in a specific case around 116 euros per month instead of the 20 euros that had been paid monthly until then, it continues: “Your payments in 2020 did not reach this annual amount. We would now like to give you one last opportunity to pay the missing amount for 2020. ”Otherwise the contract will be terminated. This is followed by an indication of paying the full regular savings rate in the future.
Building societies have been trying for years to get rid of old customers with contracts with good interest rates. Even those who use their home loan and savings contracts as a kind of savings book and are not necessarily interested in a home loan. The building societies use numerous tricks to do this. The reference to the regular savings rate for building society savings contracts is one of them. It’s not new, but is currently making the rounds again. Consumer advocates point out that it is in principle possible to be terminated due to outstanding regular savings payments. If you want to continue your home loan and savings contract, you should take a closer look and file an objection if necessary.
In the case of home loan and savings contracts, other rates are often agreed
In its letter, LBS West refers to the general terms and conditions for home loan and savings contracts (ABB) and the regular savings rate specified therein. Often, however, the building society and customers have agreed other rates by hand and have practiced them for years. “In our opinion, such an individual agreement has priority,” says the Federal Association of Consumer Centers. In some cases building societies have even tolerated for years that customers did not pay any contributions. Anyone who has doubts as to whether a subsequent claim is legal should consult a lawyer.
If the building society asks for money, you should first take a look at the ABB. Depending on what is written there, the building society can only cancel if a customer has paid less than half of the standard savings. “Other building society savers are only threatened with termination if they do not make a regular contribution within a year,” the consumer advocates explain.
There are many precedents
Another important question is how far back the building societies are going with their demands for additional payments. There are several court rulings on termination due to outstanding regular contributions. One from the Stuttgart Regional Court (Az. 6 O 45/16) from 2017 says: Those affected can invoke a statute of limitations after three years. Specifically, a building society asked a customer in 2016 to pay back the regular savings contributions for the years 2009 to 2015, a total of almost 17,200 euros. The Stuttgart judges ruled that the request was only legal for the years 2013 to 2015. The woman only had to pay around 4600 euros to continue her home loan and savings contract.
The fact that building societies are not entitled to postpay contributions that were made a long time ago does not mean that they will not try anyway. The past few years have shown: Houses are fine with many tricks to get rid of unwelcome customers. Those affected must actively refer to the statute of limitations, emphasize consumer advocates. If a building society raises statute-barred claims, one must expressly refuse payment with reference to the statute of limitations.