Incorrect revocation instruction: 5 important tips from a specialist lawyer

An incorrect revocation instruction is no rare sight. Errors occur time and again when they’re presented. For the consumer themselves, these usually aren’t clearly recognizable.

A revocation instruction is required by law for certain consumer contracts. The EU Consumer Directive, which came into force on June 13, 2014, standardizes its formal requirements.

Learn firsthand what to look for in this article.

incorrect revocation instruction
Do you have any unanswered questions regarding incorrect revocation instructions? Call (040) 3501 6360 or send an e-mail to


  1. What exactly is an incorrect revocation instruction?
  2. It sometimes depends on nuances in the formulation
  3. Incorrect revocation instruction: loan agreement example
  4. Incorrect revocation instruction – further examples
  5. Revocation instruction as a complex field within the judicature

1. What exactly is an incorrect revocation instruction?

Not only the legislator, but also the courts in Germany, repeatedly deal in detail with revocation instructions and their legal effectiveness. According to generally applicable case law and supporting rulings, the following revocation instructions are therefore invalid:

  1. Incorrect instructions on time periods: the start of the time period is not clearly formulated.
  2. The consequences of revocation are either listed only incompletely or not at all.
  3. There’s no instruction concerning distance selling.
  4. There’s a violation of the requirement for clarity in the revocation instruction.

The mandatory information according to BGB and EGBGB is missing (here: § 492 para. 2 BGB in conjunction with art. 247 and §§ 6 to 13 EGBGB).

2. It sometimes depends on nuances in the formulation

As a consumer, you often can’t even recognize the incorrectness of a revocation instruction. Even a single, incorrectly used word can render a revocation instruction invalid. For example, you will frequently find the word “earliest” in the context of the start of the period in a corresponding revocation instruction.

The Federal Court of Justice has stated in several rulings that the use of this word leads to an invalid revocation instruction. Accordingly, this word leaves you in the dark about which requirements apply here. The word creates ambiguity for consumers.

In fact, it falsely suggests to the respective consumer that the period for revocation may also begin later, the judges argued in this regard.

Have your revocation instruction checked!

Make an appointment now!

Legal consequences of an incorrect revocation instruction: Ruling allows revocation of a loan

A similar case was heard by the Wuppertal Regional Court. Here, it was sufficient that the word “clarify” was used in the contract for a linked transaction (combination of loan and residual debt agreement), although the bank had used the word “explain” in the sample text.

The judges at the Wuppertal Regional Court ruled that this exchange of two terms or words rendered the instruction invalid (Case No. 5 O 377/11; judgment of May 8, 2012).

They argued at the pronouncement of judgment that there had been a reversal of the meaning of the text. The legal consequences of an incorrect revocation instruction in this case: The plaintiff was able to revoke the loan. This was precisely what the bank had previously refused to do.

3. Incorrect revocation instruction: loan agreement example

It becomes particularly clear when it comes to incorrect revocation instructions in loan agreements. There have been some changes here in 2002, 2010 and also in 2016. This circumstance has, for example, caused claims to be forfeited because revocations weren’t submitted in time or formal errors occurred in the declaration of revocation.

With regard to the statute of limitations, incorrect revocation instructions for loan agreements and financial services also occupy a special position. As a rule, every consumer has a perpetual right of revocation if they were wrongly or incorrectly instructed about the revocation.

If you revoke a loan on your own, you have little chance of success. Therefore, assert your rights with the help of a lawyer!

Are you accused of an incorrect revocation instruction?

Make an appointment now!

4. Incorrect revocation instruction – further examples

With contracts of various types, there are always irritations in regard to revocation instructions. We have listed for you typical formulations and scenarios for an incorrect revocation instruction:

  • The font used for the revocation instruction is too small and therefore difficult to read.

The instruction is hidden in the text and is not visually highlighted to a sufficient extent.

  •     An invalid address is specified.
  •     Misleading or false content obscures the start of the revocation period.
  •     Missing or incorrect information fails to make the consequences of the revocation clear.
  •     Corresponding information on distance selling is missing.
  •     Outdated legal situations or sample text passages are used in the revocation instruction.
  •     The revocation instruction takes place prior to the formation of the contract.
  •     There are two conflicting instructions in the various contract documents.

5. Revocation instruction as a complex field within the judicature

The factual situation has been greatly complicated by the repeated amendments to model texts and laws since 2002.

Only the law that is actually valid at the time the contract is formed applies. The case law on incorrect revocation instructions is made even more complex by a large number of rulings by the courts of instance. This is because these court rulings partially modify the respective requirements of the Federal Court of Justice.

Every revocation instruction is carefully checked for errors by our law firm upon request. As a consumer, you should take advantage of this opportunity.

Do you have any questions or would you like to make an appointment?

Make an appointment now!

Image credits: © Datenschutz-Stockfoto |

Marco Bennek
I started working as a lawyer in 2006 and have been advising clients in competition and trademark law for more than 10 years. Since June 2015 I have been a specialist attorney for industrial property rights and since May 2013 a partner in the firm of HELMKE Attorneys at Law and Tax Advisors and Patent Attorneys. I studied law in Hamburg, Madrid, and Wellington (New Zealand) and hold a Master of Laws (LL.M.).
Rechtsanwalt Marco Bennek
Lawyer Marco Bennek – trademark law, copyright, competition law and IT law in Hamburg
c/o Elbkanzlei
Bleichenbrücke 11
20354 Hamburg
040 3501 6360
Opening hours
Monday to Thursday
09:00 - 18:00
09:00 - 16:00