I was wrongly transferred a referral bonus of 12k euros spanned across 10 transactions for a year starting Summer 2021 from my insurance company. I did not refer anyone however.

I reported the problem after the 2nd transaction saying that I wasn't expecting any money and I just got around 5k in 1 day as I did not submit any invoices for reimbursement or anything of that sort. The insurance company replied back a day later saying this is indeed my money and thank me for all my referrals. I just assumed someone was using my referral code and didn't bother to bring this up again especially when it's cumbersome to find an english speaking support agent here.

Fast forward, I get around 7k in 8 transactions in around 9 months bringing the total to 12k in 1 year (ended in Summer 2022). A week ago, I get a letter from my insurance company saying that they have found a glitch in their system and I was wrongfully transferred 12k during the time period mentioned above and kindly ask me to transfer it back as well as acknowledging that I reported this problem back in Summer 2021 but they weren't able to detect it.

From a legal point of view, what are my chances of keeping the money based on the above information?


1 Answer 1


From a legal point of view, what are my chances of keeping the money based on the above information?

None, unless a period of more than 3 years (§195 - Standard limitation period ) has past before the return request was made.

§812 - Claim for restitution - German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch BGB)
(1) A person who obtains something as a result of the performance of another person or otherwise at his expense without legal grounds for doing so is under a duty to make restitution to him. This duty also exists if the legal grounds later lapse or if the result intended to be achieved by those efforts in accordance with the contents of the legal transaction does not occur.

§818(3) would also not apply (where you no longer have the money), since you have acknowledged that the reception of the money was incorrect (i.e. you spent it knowning that it was not yours)

§818 Scope of the claim to enrichment
(3) The liability to undertake restitution or to reimburse the value is excluded to the extent that the recipient is no longer enriched.

  • 2
    is this accounting for the fact the insurance company previously said there was no mistake and it was the asker's money to keep? Commented Mar 24, 2023 at 22:10
  • @user253751 Just because they didn't notice their mistake at first, doesn't change the fact that it is their property. Only after 3 years (standard limitation period) would that situation change. Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 5:22
  • so I could just give you $50,000 and then say "happy free money under the march 25 giving program!" and then 2 years 11 months later I can come back and demand $50,000 because that's not a real program? Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 5:26
  • @user253751 'so I could just give you': No, since you gave it, it is no longer your property. The paragraph states explicidly 'without legal grounds' and the OP stated 'wrongly transferred'. Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 5:31
  • it is wrongly transferred since there is no March 25 Giving Program or if there is one, you are not eligible for it Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 6:06