What Qualifies as an Enforceable Promise of a Prize?

Have you, too, received a letter in the mail informing you that you just have won a luxurious car, and all you need to do is return the winner’s slip and then you will be eligible for the prize drawing? A few years ago, §661a was entered into the Civil Code giving the promised winner the enforceable right to collect on the promised win.


OLG Bremen (re: 1 U 50/03 a) had to decide in a case what exactly qualifies as a promise of a prize. The law merely requires the resemblance to a promise, not necessarily an actual or a firm promise. Such a resemblance will be assumed if the appearance of the business’ letter gives the impression that you believe that you really have won something. The wording of such a promissory letter will be judged based on the expectations of the average consumer. In interpreting the wording of such a promise, the focus will be on message: the clearly marked statements and hidden remarks will not be relevant unless they attract the consumer’s attention.

So much for the law. Practice shows that most of these promises come from letterbox companies outside of Germany. It is almost futile to try to sue them abroad or to open a case against them in Germany. If you do not want to waste a lot of money on a case unlikely to yield any results, then just throw the letter away. Oh, you already answered it? Well, you can expect to receive more such mail in future– that is all. If you want to prevent serious companies from sending you advertising mail, all you have to do is register for free at www.robinsonliste.de.

Published on the old CMS: 2006/8/2
Read on the old CMS till November 2008: 1,042 reads

Additional information