General Terms and Conditions

General Terms and Conditions (Allgemeine Geschäftsbedingungen, AGBs) are a set of pre-formulated standard clauses designed to make day-to-day business easier. There is no obligation to use these standard clauses. However, if you do decide to use them, you should ensure you do so correctly. Particularly in the area of business to consumer transactions (B2C) there are a number of legal provisions which must be observed and can only be deviated from in certain circumstances.

In some instances the use of general terms and conditions can be beneficial in reducing your obligations towards customers. It can however, be extremely difficult to strike the right balance between achieving your aims and ensuring that a clause fulfils legal requirements. Clauses intended to exclude guarantees can backfire, leading not only to them becoming void, but also to receiving a warning letter for breaching competition rules.

As a result, it can sometimes be advisable to limit the scope of a standard term or condition and to rely on the protection found in other areas of the law, from which derogation is restricted.

We will be happy to advise you on the content of standard terms and conditions in order for them to be legally compliant.

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Christian Solmecke is a partner at the law firm WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE. He is the author of numerous legal publications in the area of internet and IT law. He is also an associate lecturer for social media law at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

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