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Of a franking machine created
franking of Deutsche Post
Note on the envelope for transport with DPAG (top right)
A mailing bag from the former Deutsche Bundespost that can be used up to 20 times. After crossing out the address field, a new address was entered. Shipping was free.

Franking (or franking , franking ) are trade clauses in contracts of carriage between sender and receiver specify who the transport costs shall be borne.


The franking used to refer to the postage stamps intended for franking a mail item and first appeared in this form in a foreign dictionary in 1831. According to this, franking ( Italian franco di porto , "free transport") was defined in a merchant lexicon from 1838 as the payment of postage for letters or parcels or the advance payment of the transport costs for freight by the sender.

Frankings are now commercial clauses and, according to Section 346 of the German Commercial Code (HGB), may only be agreed upon between merchants for commercial transactions . In the case of non-merchants (e.g. consumers ), such trade clauses are only applicable if they take part in trade like merchants and are familiar with these trade customs. Some logistics service providers extend the postage with information on final mile services .

Legal issues

Generally looks § 407 para. 2 HGB in the contract of carriage provides that the sender of the agreed freight has to be paid, namely in the delivery of cargo goods ( § 420 para. 1 HGB). Frankings regulate within the scope of the delivery conditions who exactly is to pay the costs of the transport of goods. Frankings fluctuate between the extreme values ​​"franko, franco" / "frei" ( English prepaid ) or CIF , where the sender pays the transport costs in full, and " unfree " ( English cash on delivery , COD and English ex works EXW, " ex works ") ), for which the recipient bears the transport costs. If the sender has declared the acceptance of the freight in the consignment note , the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) denies the acceptance of the freight costs by the recipient on the basis of Section 436 HGB.

If the rail waybill says “free station”, the carriage must be paid by the recipient. "Free freight" means that the sender only takes over the freight for the transport route. There are also restrictions on the franking “free in railroad cars” (FIW), “free on board the aircraft” (FOA), “free truck” (FOT), for which the recipient has to bear part of the transport costs.


Franking (from Italian fran care , "free up") the franking is today a mailpiece by stamps ( Stamps , indicia , Frankit or Stampit ). Postage ( Latin postage , "I carry") is the fee that the sender of the post office usually has to pay for the transport and delivery of the item. These postage charges are approved by the Federal Network Agency and are regulated in the “General Terms and Conditions of Deutsche Post Brief national and international letters” and the “General Terms and Conditions of Deutsche Post AG for franking items with franking machines”. Reference is made here to the regulations on the freight contract (§ § 407 ff. HGB). According to the Post General Terms and Conditions, the sender is obliged to pay the fee specified in the “Services and prices” directory or other price lists for each service. The sender has to pay the fee in advance , at the latest when the shipment is posted ("franking"), unless special payment methods apply. In the case of unpaid shipments, the recipient can pay the transport fee plus a collection fee as well as other costs incurred on the shipment with a discharging effect for the sender ( additional charge ).


There are different ways of franking, namely in the area of Deutsche Post stamp , franking , franking , Internet brand , Handyporto , "branch" sticker or franking. The postage stamp is a small bearer paper in accordance with Section 807 of the German Civil Code (BGB). Internal mail items are marked as "Postage - Service des postes" and do not require postage.

Mail items that have not been franked or not sufficiently franked are first returned to the sender so that the sender can postage the postage. Notwithstanding this, the recipient can contractually agree to accept unpaid shipments as a "response" and to pay the fee. If no sender is visible on the outside, the consignment will be offered to the recipient for a fee. If the recipient refuses to accept the delivery, the sender will be determined via the Deutsche Post mail service in Marburg.

All postage stamps issued since January 1, 1969 in the currency denomination DM had unlimited postage validity; there was no longer an expiration date as in previous years. There were, however, some exceptions before; the definitive stamp series German Buildings from Twelve Centuries , the Brandenburg Gate and the special stamps in honor of the 1968 Summer Olympics in the city of Mexico were valid without restriction. These stamps were issued before 1969.

With the introduction of the euro as a common European currency on January 1, 2002, this regulation became obsolete. The stamps could then be used until June 30, 2002; however, it was possible to exchange it in the branches or directly at Deutsche Post until June 30, 2003.

Postage stamps issued from the year 2000 and bearing a value in both pfennigs and euros continue to have unlimited postage validity.


With the introduction of the euro as cash, postage fees and postage stamps were also converted to euros. For a certain time, mint never hinged, i.e. unstamped, stamps and postcards with Schilling values ​​were still exchanged. Only letters including cards are franked, i.e. stuck with postage stamps. Parcels, bulk mail, newspapers and (formerly) telegrams were sent against payment, for example in cash.

Postcards and at times also finished letters are or have been sold by the post office with the appropriate stamp imprint. International postcards have a higher imprint than domestic postcards in accordance with the postage rate, these cards in A6 format cost just as much as the postage. If the postage is not sufficient after a tariff increase, for example, a supplementary value can be affixed.

Letters (including any additional charges for registered mail, air mail and express delivery) can be affixed with postage stamps. Companies with a lot of outgoing mail use so-called postage stamps, with fees for setting and fee counters. For years, post offices have generally been franking with a printed self-adhesive label and no longer with individual stamps from the approximately 25 × 30 cm stamp book. Medium-sized quantities of letters posted at the post office counter can also be marked Pbb ("Postage fee paid in cash") and paid for in cash; these are cleared for transport by being stamped with the day stamp.


Letters with A Mail are delivered the next day, including Saturday. Sundays and national, cantonal and regional holidays are excluded. With the somewhat cheaper B Mail delivery method , letters arrive no later than the third working day (excluding Saturday) after they have been posted. WebStamp (digital postage stamps), intelligent franking systems or stamps are available for franking items that occur irregularly every day (daily mail) . Intelligent franking systems (IFS) are ideal for franking daily mail and simplify the franking of mailings and bulk mail . The PP franking is ideal for shipping large quantities from 50 broadcasts.


The use of Incoterms is recommended in international business transactions . However, these concern regulations between exporter and importer . Franking, on the other hand, relates to regulations between the sender and the carrier.

Web links

Wiktionary: franking  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: franking  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Gerhard Strauss / Heidrun Kämper / Isolde Nortmeyer / Herbert Schmidt / Oda Vietze (eds.), German Foreign Dictionary , Volume 5, 2004, p. 1085
  2. Eucharius Ferdinand Christian Oertel, Non-profit dictionary for the explanation and Germanization of the foreign expressions occurring in common life , 1831, p. 342
  3. ^ Verlag Otto Wigand (ed.), General Encyclopedia for Merchants and Manufacturers , 1838, p. 363
  4. Roland Leuschel / Joachim Gruber, Commercial Law , 2000, p. 84
  5. KG Becker, Incoterms and forwarding franking: Significance and interdependencies from the perspective of the shipper , in: Internationales Verkehrwesen vol. 44, 1992, p. 341
  6. Peter Klaus / Winfried Krieger (eds.), Gabler Lexikon Logistik , 1998, p. 146
  7. ^ BGH, judgment of January 23, 1970, Az .: I ZR 35/69 = BGH WM 1970, 692 , 693
  8. ^ Johann Georg Helm, Freight Law I , 1994, p. 324
  9. Dorit Oelfke, Speditionsbetriebslehre und Logistik , 2008, p. 108
  10. Gerd W. Goede, Lexikon des Internationale Handels , 1996, p. 643
  11. Changeover of stamps from DM to € ( Memento of October 6, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  12. Exchange period for DM stamps ( Memento of the original from October 23, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /