Saxon consumer advocates are calling on customers of banks and savings banks to examine their premium savings contracts, some of which are decades old, and to bring legal action by the end of the year.

Because if you do not decide to take this step in the remaining four weeks, you face the statute of limitations in the opinion of the consumer association Saxony.

According to an overview on their website, at the end of 2021 this primarily affects premium savings products from the Erzgebirgssparkasse, the Kreissparkasse Bautzen, the Sparkasse Vogtland and the Sparkasse Mittelachsen.

Marcus Jung

Editor in business.

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In the “Flexible premium savings” contracts, an average of additional interest payments of 4,000 euros per customer should be involved. "So it pays to take action and take a measure to prevent the statute of limitations, for example by following a model declaratory action or an application for arbitration," says Andreas Eichhorn, board member of the consumer center in Saxony. Claims against savings banks in Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt also expire in a few weeks.

Many of the premium savings contracts concluded with East German savers had been concluded in the 1990s and early 2000s.

The contracts contained clauses that entitle savings banks and banks to adjust the respective interest rate in their favor.

As early as 2004, the banking senate at the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) banned the use of such clauses at the expense of consumers.

In subsequent decisions, Karlsruhe also commented on how adjustments and ultimately repayments to bank customers should be calculated.

Although many of the initially hundreds of thousands of contracts have now been terminated, there are always disputes.

Wave of model suits

In recent years the complaints have increased, especially in Saxony. The local consumer center was not idle: the lawsuit register at the Federal Office of Justice shows six model declaratory actions by consumer advocates against savings banks. Around two months ago, the BGH confirmed that certain interest clauses, which Sparkasse Leipzig had adjusted in its premium savings contracts, were not permitted (Ref .: XI ZR 234/20). Nevertheless, it is said from the Deutsche Kreditwirtschaft (DK), which represents the interests of all five leading associations in the industry, that "essential questions about the calculation of interest" remain open.

In addition to its own lawsuit, for which legal and court fees are incurred, the consumer center of Saxony points out two alternatives to affected savers.

On the one hand, there is the option of joining the proceedings up to the day of the first oral hearing in all model lawsuits that have not yet been heard in court.

The consumer advice center bears the costs.

Joining the procedure at a later date is not possible.

Alternatively, a procedure at the arbitration board of the German Savings Banks and Giro Association is possible.

The costs for the procedure, review and calculation of the individual interest rate adjustments amount to 130 euros per contract.