Are general terms and conditions compulsory?

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It is not compulsory to adopt a set of general terms and conditions – also known as delivery and payment conditions – but it is useful to do so. It means that you do not have to negotiate conditions every time you enter into a contract. It also avoids any misunderstandings which might otherwise arise between you and your business clients. For example, if anything goes wrong you might be held liable if you do not have any general terms and conditions.

What are the requirements for the general terms and conditions?

The general terms and conditions must meet two requirements:

  • The terms relating to delivery, payment, liability, guarantee and service must not be an unreasonable burden on your business partner.
  • The general terms and conditions must be supplied to the client either before or during the agreement to do business.

You can deliver them in person, send them or print them on the back of the quotation document (with a reference to them in the quotation document). In other words, it is not sufficient simply to refer to your general terms and conditions (whether you have filed them or not) on your printed paper. If you send your terms and conditions only when you send the invoice, they are not valid in law.

How do I draw up general terms and conditions ?

A number of branch organizations have drawn up standard terms and conditions for use by members. You can also draw up your own conditions, but be sure to ask for advice from your branch organization or a lawyer. The Chamber of Commerce can also provide help and advice.

Do I have to file my general terms and conditions?

You can file your general terms and conditions with the Chamber of Commerce or the district court. You are not obliged to file them, but it can be to your advantage to do so. For example, if it is not possible for you to provide your client with a copy of the terms and conditions. Or if there is any disagreement about the text, you can use the text filed at that time.