Legal Question in Consumer Law in United Kingdom

My husband worked in Heidelburg for 6 months late 2009/early 2010. He applied for a DeutcheBahn card for transport. All of the paperwork (of course) was written in German (which he does not speak). Early this year he received a DeutcheBahn card, unsolicited, in the post with a request for payment. He put it aside as he was no longer working in Germany. We are now receiving requests for payment from a collections agency based in the Netherlands.

The question is, can a contract be enforced if it had not been understood? Apparently, DeutcheBahn says that in order to cancel the automatic renewal, a request should have been sent in writing 6 weeks prior to the expiry date of the card. This was never made clear.

Any help you can provide would be most appreciated.

Asked on 5/23/11, 11:08 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Arent Lievens Advocates Lievens & Lievens

Claiming not understanding the language is an understandable excuse, but unattainable in the legal sense (eg. it would force every English employer speaking Polish to his Polish workers...).

The reasoning is that if one does not understand the language of the contract, one should not enter it.

My advise not to get in touch with the Dutch collections agency, but with DB directly (by registered letter), explaining that as the work contract ended, the employer should have ended the transport contract. As of the end date of the work contract, the DB card was not used any more. And if necessary, you give notice from that date.

Depending on the amount, it might be unlikely that the debt is collected in the UK.

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Answered on 5/26/11, 12:24 pm

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