What is the value of 441
Specialist literature Comments and manuals Construction contract law according to BGB and VOB / B Part 1 BGB Sales Law B. Explanations on the individual regulations § 441 BGB Reduction
Construction contract law according to BGB and VOB / B
Mark von Wietersheim
II. The reduction in detail
In the case of a reduction, the buyer keeps the item, but only has to pay a reduced purchase price. The purchase price is reduced by the amount by which the defect reduces the value of the item in relation to the purchase price. If the buyer has already paid the full purchase price, the seller must reimburse him for the difference in accordance with Section 441 (4) sentence 1 BGB. Compared to withdrawal, there is the special feature that a reduction in price is also possible in the case of minor defects1.
Section 441 (3) BGB provides a somewhat complicated formula for calculating the reduction. This should take into account the special feature that in some cases it is "bought cheaply" - i.e. the purchase price is lower than the actual value of the item2.
Reduced price = ((value of faulty item × agreed price) / (value of faultless item))
Windows without a defect are worth EUR 1000, they are sold for EUR 800, with a defect the value is EUR 600.
600 × 800: 1000 = 480 euros; this is the reduced purchase price.
With this formula, the buyer retains the advantage of having bought cheaply3! If the reduced purchase price were EUR 600 (= value of the defective item), the buyer would be deprived of the originally negotiated price advantage.
If one generally assumes that the agreed price corresponds to the value of the defect-free purchase item, then the calculation of the reduction is comparatively simple: The defect-related reduction in value is simply deducted from the purchase price. In practice, the reduction in value can often be calculated from the amount required to remedy the defect.
Sample formulation: reduction
Rural Building Authority
Purchase contract dated ... - Reduction
Dear Mr. Lotrecht,
on ... we signed a sales contract for ... [the delivery of building materials].
On ... [date] we notified you in a notification of defects that the delivered goods were defective. We have also asked you to deliver defective goods by ... [date]. You let this deadline pass.
We put the reduced value of the aforementioned goods at ... €. We will reduce the purchase price already paid by this amount. We request you to repay us this amount immediately, but no later than ... [1 week].
1 § 441 Paragraph 1 Sentence 2 BGB.2 So-called “relative calculation method”. 3 To the whole Medicus, Law of Obligations II, Special Part, p. 25.
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