Stamps that lose their validity after 14 days – a reality in Deutsche Post’s app so far. In the first instance, however, Deutsche Post is now losing a legal dispute that could mean the 14-day validity is lifted.
In the dispute over the validity of so-called mobile stamps, Deutsche Post has suffered a defeat. A clause in the General Terms and Conditions, according to which this type of franking is only valid for 14 days after purchase, is invalid according to a ruling by the Cologne Regional Court, as the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations (VZBV) announced on Monday.
Customers have been able to buy mobile stamps in the “Post & DHL” app for two years. They get a code of numbers and letters, which they write with a pen on the envelope – thus the letter is later recognized as franked in the mail. The service is intended for people who are on the move and do not have a paper stamp to hand. The mobile stamp is just one of the Group’s niche products.
The fact that the franking is only valid for two weeks is a source of irritation to consumer advocates. After expiration, “the post office simply keeps the money for postage codes that have already been paid for but not yet used, without providing anything in return,” said VZBV legal expert Jana Brockfeld. “This extreme shortening of the statutory limitation period of three years is unlawful.”
Swiss Post sees it differently. “We have a different legal opinion here and have therefore appealed,” said a company spokesperson. For consumers, everything remains the same for now: Since the ruling is not yet legally binding, the terms and conditions clause with the 14-day period continues to apply. However, most users who bought the code in the app probably won’t wait that long to send the letter with the combination of numbers and letters anyway.