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I live in Germany and have a yearly contract for the Adobe Creative Cloud. This contract can only be canceled 30 days before the one year period ends. They say, that a termination notice prior to those 30 days cannot be noted in their system.

Are companies allowed to restrict the period in which I can submit a termination request to cancel a contract?

  • What does the contract say about termination? Typical contracts would require at least 30 days notice, not at most 30 days notice. But I don't see any problem with either construction. – amon Dec 19 '19 at 12:56
  • @amon I think the OP is being asked for exactly 30 days notice. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Dec 19 '19 at 14:43
  • @Ferox Can you put the exact wording of the contract here? – K-HB Dec 21 '19 at 8:54
  • Did they say or it did they write it in a letter? If they wrote it then they have effectively confirmed that they recieved your notice. Nothing more is realy required. – Mark Johnson Dec 23 '19 at 12:59
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A clause that your termination notice wont be recognised prior to a certain date is really unusual and probably invalid.

Your contract includes Allgemeine Geschäftsbedingungen (AGB, general terms and conditions). There are rules on such terms in §§ 305 ff. BGB. A company is not allowed to include certain clauses, § 309 BGB. In § 309 Nr. 13 lit. c BGB it is forbidden to prescribe "besondere Zugangsvoraussetzungen" for "Anzeigen oder Erklärungen" of the customer. The ratio is to help customers; they should not be required to look up the AGB before every notice (Wurmnest-MüKo BGB, § 309 Nr. 13 Rn. 1).

To wait until a certain date is such a special condition. So the clause is forbidden and invalid.

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No they are not allowed to restrict the period that you can give notice.

As long as they have recieved it in writing, before the last possible date, it is binding for both.

§ 130 (1) Sentence 1 BGB:
A declaration of intent that is to be made to another becomes effective, if made in his absence, at the point of time when this declaration reaches him.

So the trader must recieve this notice in cases such as these

  • a confirmation that serves as proof for any court is needed

They say, that a termination notice prior to those 30 days cannot be noted in their system.

Allthough thre Civil Code forsees that a notice period (Kündigungfrist) can be agreed by the 2 parties.

Duden defines Kündigungfrist as:

Frist bis zum Wirksamwerden einer ausgesprochenen Kündigung

Deadline until a notice of termination becomes effective

So a notice (Kündigung) must be arrive before the notice period starts.

The Civil Code contains no construction allowing that a notice can only be given during a range of dates

  • such as between 30 to 60 days

So, if you send the notice 90 days beforehand:

  • Tough luck for them, that is not your problem.

Sending of notice:

The notice (§ 130 BGB) must be made in a text form (§ 312h BGB).

Since privatization the Post Office will no longer confirm (notarised) the letter being sent, by stamping a copy before the sealing of the letter.

A Conformation that the letter has arrived must exist if this is to be used as proof acceptable in court.

A notice is only valid after it has be recieved before the last possible date, which can be any time before that date.

The letter sent as a Einschreiben mit Rückschein (Registered with confirmation), is therefore no longer an option due to the lack of a notarised copy of what is in the letter.

Both forms of Einschreiben required that the reciever confirms the reception of the letter

  • which they can refuse

The difference between a normal Einschreiben and a third option: Einwurf-Einschreiben is that a confirmation will exist that the letter was delivered (Auslieferungsbelegs, delivery receipt) - but still without proof of what is in the letter

Where a confirmation is needed, a solution based on § 194 ZPO is needed.

Wenn es für die Privatperson auch auf den Inhalt des Kuverts ankommt, sollte besser eine Zustellung durch den Gerichtsvollzieher erfolgen.

If it is also the content of the contribution to the individual person, a delivering should be done by the court-appointed enforcement officer.

This is, unfortunately, much more complicated (and more costly) and takes longer (8-10 days) than the service no longer offered by the privitised Post Office

  • Amtsgericht (local court) of the reciever is responsible

Calling them beforhand is adviced to clarify how the procedure should be correctly done.


German Civil Code - Bürgerlichgesetzbuch (BGB)

Section 130
Effectiveness of a declaration of intent to absent parties

(1) A declaration of intent that is to be made to another becomes effective, if made in his absence, at the point of time when this declaration reaches him. It does not become effective if a revocation reaches the other previously or at the same time.

(2) The effectiveness of a declaration of intent is not affected if the person declaring dies or loses capacity to contract after making a declaration.

(3) These provisions apply even if the declaration of intent is to be made to a public authority.


Division 4
Periods of time and fixed dates

  • §§186-193

Section 187
Beginning of a period of time

(1) If a period commences on the occurrence of an event or at a point of time falling in the course of a day, then the day on which the event or point of time occurs is not included in the calculation of the period.

(2) If the beginning of a day is the determining point of time for the commencement of a period, then this day is included in the calculation of the period. The same applies to the date of birth when the age of a person is calculated.


German Code of Civil Procedure - Zivilprozessordnung (ZPO)

Section 192
Service of records or documents by a court-appointed enforcement officer

(1) The service of documents to be performed at the instigation of the parties shall be performed by the court-appointed enforcement officer subject to the stipulations set out in sections 193 and 194.

(2) The party shall physically submit to the court-appointed enforcement officer the document to be served, along with the required copies. The court-appointed enforcement officer shall certify the copies; he may prepare any lacking copies himself.

(3) In proceedings before the local court (Amtsgericht, AG), the party may charge, with the assistance of the registry of the court hearing the case, the court-appointed enforcement officer with serving the documents. In this context, the court registry is to charge the court-appointed enforcement officer with the service.

Section 193
Implementation of service

(1) On the original copy of the document to be served, or on the form provided for this purpose that is to be attached to the original copy of the document, the court-appointed enforcement officer shall attest that the document has been served pursuant to section 182 (2), and he shall note in said attestation the name of the person on behalf of whom he has performed such service. Where service is effected by mailing the document, the date and the address at which the document was mailed are to be noted.

(2) The court-appointed enforcement officer shall note, on the document to be physically submitted, the date on which it was served, unless he physically submits a certified copy of the record of service.

(3) The record of service is to be transmitted to the party on behalf of whom the documents were served.

Section 194
Instructions to serve records or documents or documents

(1) If the court-appointed enforcement officer charges the postal service with serving the documents, he shall note on the document to be served the person or entity on whose behalf he is submitting said documents to the postal service. He shall attest on the original of the document to be served, or on a handover form to be attached to the original document, that the postal item has been submitted to the postal service, and that it bears: the address of the party to whom the document is to be served, the designation of the court-appointed enforcement officer so serving it, and a reference number.

(2) The postal service shall return the record of service to the court-appointed enforcement officer without undue delay.


Sources: (in German)

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  • Your source says clearly and correctly that a Einschreiben mit Rückschein isn't a proof for the arrival of a specific document. Moreover no one has to accept a Einschreiben mit Rückschein, so the period might expire wile the letter is waiting at the post station. – K-HB Dec 22 '19 at 9:48
  • You give no source for your answer to the question. I see no problem with such a clause in a contract for individually negotiated contracts (freedom of contract!). – K-HB Dec 22 '19 at 9:49
  • @K-HB Yes, since privatization the Post Office will no longer confirm the letter being sent, by stamping a copy before the sealing of the letter. And of course the Conformation that the letter has arrived must exist. A notice is only valid after it has be recieved before the last possible date, which can be any time before that date. Will adapt answer later, after finding legal corresponding paragraphs. – Mark Johnson Dec 22 '19 at 10:48
  • @K-HB The '30 days to the end of the year' can be agreed to, but a '30 to 60 days to the end of the year' cannot. (§ 355 (1) Sentence 5 BGB) – Mark Johnson Dec 23 '19 at 10:09
  • § 355 BGB says nothing about this case. We talk about a regular termination, not a "Right of withdrawal in consumer contracts" as in § 355. – K-HB Dec 23 '19 at 10:34

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