“Voucher redeemable until”: validity, statute of limitations and conditions

Tuesday, 25.12.12 , written by Anja Schlicht Vouchers as a Christmas present are becoming more popular year by year. Also in 2012, after the holidays, many people will be in the shops to redeem their vouchers for movies, clothes or DVDs. But how long are vouchers actually valid and when can  „Gutschein einlösbar bis“: Gültigkeit, Verjährung und Bedingungen

Vouchers are no longer just a last-minute gift. Instead, they offer the recipient the opportunity to buy something to their personal taste. The downside, however, is that most of the time you forget that you got a voucher for Christmas or your birthday. If he falls into the hands of the recipient after a year, the big guesswork begins: Can the voucher still be redeemed?

Vouchers usually valid for three years

In general, vouchers expire after three years. If no exact date of validity or issue is noted, the voucher can still be redeemed three years after the end of the year in which it was issued. This means that a voucher from 21.12.2017 is valid until 31.12.2020. The same applies if the voucher was given in January or July 2017. The period of validity of a voucher can in individual cases also be shorter than three years, if the time limit, for example to two years, is appropriate. If the voucher needs to be redeemed in less than a year, this is usually inadmissible. Then you can take your time – only after three years will the voucher be forfeited.


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No cash payment on coupons

Vouchers can be redeemed by any person – regardless of their name. According to section 807 of the Civil Code (BGB) a voucher is a so-called small bearer paper. Anyone who holds it in his hands may claim it. However, voucher holders do not have the right to demand a cash payment. In addition, they are not entitled to the remainder of the voucher after their redemption is paid. Traders are allowed to issue a new voucher for the remaining balance – even if it is only a matter of a few cents.

Vouchers expire after the limitation period

After expiry of the legal period of validity of three years indefinite vouchers expire and the money is gone. If, however, they are vouchers with an expiry date of about one year, the merchant must reimburse the monetary value within the three-year limitation period after the end of the voucher validity. However, customers do not get back the full amount of the voucher. Rather, the dealer may retain part of the money. How much is paid in the end varies from case to case.

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