Die Förmliche Zustellung

… or my second day in court

A few weeks ago I was called to appear as a witness at a local court. I’m not going to go into the details of the case, but I learnt a new part of the postal service in the process.  The “förmliche Zustellung”.

We’ve spoken before about the different options for sending post in Germany, ie. the Einschreiben for proof of sending, the Rückschein for recorded delivery and even options like the Einschreiben eigenhändig to ensure that only the receipient signs for something.

But the court has another option, that I was unaware of until now.

Förmliche ZustellungThe förmliche Zustellung comes in a yellow envelope. On the envelope there is space for the postal worker who puts it into the letter box to write the date on it. This is the date that it went into the letter box, and the court is then informed that the post has been delivered.

There is no notification like with the Einschreiben. If I understand it correctly, the letter is considered to have been received, and if you don’t check your post box regularly or are on holiday then that’s your problem.

I guess this gets round the problem of people refusing to sign when they see who the envelope is from, but I do wonder what would happen if I had been out of the country for a few weeks, or even if the postman had put it into the wrong letter box by mistake.

My first day in court

Paragraph Symbol - ©Can Stock Photo Inc. / froxxThis week I had my first experience of visiting a German court.

I’ve talked before about the payment culture in Germany, and how some customers just don’t pay up.  I have had to register customer debts with the court before, but this was the first time I had actually been to one, as it was a slightly different situation.  This time, it was a supplier who owed me money.

Last year, I sent some items of computer hardware back to one of my supplies for repair or replacement.  Unfortunately the supplier then filed for bankruptcy.

It took a lot of telephone calls to get my hardware dealt with, but one of the items, which I had luckily noticed was not working before I sold it to a customer, was gone for a long time.

In the end I called the manufacturer and was told that the item had been destroyed and a credit note issued, meaning that rather than getting a replacement I now had to register as a creditor (called a Gläubiger in German) to my own supplier. [Read more…]

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