Purchase price

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A purchase price is the price , which in a purchase agreement from the buyer to the seller as consideration for the purchased goods in cash is payable.


The purchase price is the cash payment for goods or services purchased . The purchase price always includes the individual and subjective ideas about an asset , while the value is considered intersubjective and is therefore to be viewed as an objectified price. Deviations between the price (subject to subjective influences) and the value are possible and common, because “the price of an object does not have to correspond to its value”. The purchase price may therefore the market price , market value , asset value or net asset value differ.


Since the introduction of money as a means of payment, the sales contract has tended to supplant the exchange contract , so that it is no longer the subjective exchange value but the more objective purchase price that is used as a measure of the value of goods and services.

It has been known since the late classic Ulpian that under Roman law a purchase contract without a purchase price was ineffective . The price had a uniform name ( Latin pretium ), its word meaning as "material value". For the classics, price and material value matched. The expression “pretium” denoted the remuneration that was set against something. Those involved set the “pretium” either when purchasing or when valuing the property. For Ulpian's colleague Gaius , the purchase price had to "consist of sounding money", namely in a certain or at least determinable amount ( Latin pretium certum ). The cash ( Latin numerata pecunia ) was essential for the fulfillment of the sales contract. Thus the principle established by Iulius Paulus “no sales contract without a purchase price” ( Latin nulla emptio sine pretio ) also applied.

In the post-classical period the thought came to the fore that every product had its “ right price ” ( Latin iustum pretium ) and that any deviation from this price would have to be disapproved. Out of this world of imagination a new innovation arose, which Justinian I initiated by modifying two rescripts of his predecessors Diocletian and Maximian : The seller was now given the right to dissolve sales contracts and to reclaim the purchased item.

In the Middle Ages , the term purchase price apparently came to Germany in 1556 from the Dutch city of Leiden ( Koopprijs in Dutch ), where the city's knowledge book said that the market price was probably lower than the purchase price. It was not until 1774 that he finally went as a "pactirter [contractually regulated, i.e. Ed.] Kaufpreis "in the German merchant language. In June 1794, the General Prussian Land Law (APL) stipulated that the purchase price “must consist of a certain amount of money” (I 11, § 46 APL). In Austria , too , the purchase price must have been “in cash” since January 1811 (Section 1054 ABGB ). In German commercial law , the first obligation of every buyer in 1829 was always to pay the purchase price.


The purchase price is a legal term that is provided as the main performance obligation typical of a purchase contract in Section 433 (2) BGB . While in other countries the sales contract law clearly stipulates that the purchase price must be in money, this is not provided for in the BGB. The Reichsgericht (RG) ruled in July 1916 that the purchase price was to be paid in cash. The purchase price must be paid in cash or foreign currency , otherwise an exchange is involved. In the event of a defect , the buyer may reduce the purchase price in accordance with Section 437 No. 2 BGB . In accordance with Section 441 (3) of the German Civil Code (BGB), the purchase price is to be reduced by the ratio in which the value of the item in a defect-free condition would have been to the actual value at the time the contract was concluded. If the seller, the manufacturer or any other third party in a declaration or advertising that was available before or at the time the purchase contract was concluded, in addition to the statutory liability for defects, in particular, the obligation to reimburse the purchase price, to replace the item , to improve it or in connection with it services to be provided if the matter is not that nature has or does not meet other than the flawlessness requirements in question, which are described in the declaration or relevant advertising available to the buyer in the event of a warranty without prejudice to the legal claims the rights from the guarantee in relation to that to which has given the guarantee ( Section 443 (1) BGB).

The purchase price plays a role in several other laws. Is in commercial law , the purchase price for the weight to calculate the goods, the weight comes the packaging ( tare ) deducted, if not from the agreement or the commercial practice has to fulfill for the place in which the seller, a state otherwise ( § 380 para. 1 HGB ). On the basis of the collection of purchase prices provided for in Section 195 of the BauGB , average location values for the soil are to be determined across the board in the building law in accordance with Section 196 of the BauGB , taking into account the different development status (standard land values ).

Other European countries

In Austria , the purchase price must be in “cash” and, in accordance with Section 1054 of the Austrian Civil Code, may not be indeterminate or illegal. According to § 934 ABGB, it should be noted that the market price of the object of purchase must neither be less than half the purchase price nor exceed the market price by half, because otherwise a contract cancellation due to "shortening by half" is possible. In Switzerland , too , the purchase price is one of the main performance obligations of a purchase contract in accordance with Art. 184 OR . According to this, the purchase price is sufficiently determined if it can be determined according to the circumstances. In the Netherlands there is no sales contract until the purchase price has been fixed (Art. 1494 NBW ). In France , ownership of the object of purchase is acquired when the parties have agreed on the object of purchase and the price ( French prix ) (Art. 1583 Civil Code ). The sales price ( French prix de la vente ) must be set and determined by the parties (Art. 1591 CC). Roman law can also be found in Spain (Art. 1445 Código Civil ) and Portugal (Art. 1544 Código Civil ).

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Philipp Senff, Compliance Management in China , 2015, p. 45
  2. ^ BGH, judgment of October 25, 1967, Az .: VIII ZR 215/66
  3. Ulpian in Digesten , 18, 1, 36.
  4. ^ Heinrich Honsell , Quod interest im bonae-fidei-iudicium , 1969, p. 14
  5. ^ Gaius, Institutions , 3, 141
  6. Iulius Paulus, Digesten , 18, 1, 2
  7. ^ Paul Jörs : Römisches Recht: Römisches Privatrecht - Abriss des Römischen Zivilprozessrechts , 1949, p. 229.
  8. Kenningboek der stad Leiden, 1553/1570, p. 50
  9. ^ Franz Blasius Martin Wagner, Der Civil- und Cameralbeamte , 1774, p. 190
  10. ^ Meno Pöhls, Presentation of the common German and Hamburg commercial law for lawyers and merchants , Volume II, 1829, p. 165
  11. ^ RG, judgment of July 1, 1916, Az .: Rep. V. 140/16 = RGZ 88, 361, 364
  12. ^ Otto Palandt / Walter Weidenkaff, BGB commentary , 73rd edition, 2014, $ 433, marginal no. 35