On 28 October 2020, the European Court of Justice ruled that the level of German Lkw-Maut is in violation of European law. According to the EU Directive, only infrastructure costs may be included in the calculation of the truck toll. However, the German Federal Government also included costs for traffic police. Accordingly, the German truck toll is contrary to European law, in any case to the extent that it was based on the costs of the traffic police (ECJ, ruling of 28 October 2020, C-321/19).
Transport companies operating on German roads subject to Lkw-Maut have therefore overpaid, over the years, in what is amounting to several €100m of excessive toll. These companies can demand reimbursement of the overpaid toll from the federal government. They can at least reclaim the toll share that was based on the costs of traffic police. According to current information, these costs amount to at least four percent of the toll paid. There may also be claims over and above this. Calculation of the exact rate of overpayment is under way.
The period of limitation for these claims of reimbursement is three years. As a result, toll payments dating before 2017 can no longer be re-claimed by the companies unless they have already taken action to suspend or disrupt limitation at an earlier stage. For toll payments that took place in 2017, the period of limitation will expire by 31 December 2020, so urgent action is recommended to make sure that 2017 claims can be maintained.
In order to claim overpaid amounts, there are three alternatives for companies to choose from:
1. Operators can individually contact German authorities:
Bundesamt for Güterverkehr,
and request reimbursement of overpaid amounts,
2. They can use the services of an attorney or law firm of their choice and confidence in order to file the claims for them,
3. They can use a consolidated solution elaborated by BGL together with law firm Hausfeld Rechtsanwälte and litigation founder eClaim. Detailed information on this solution, as well as registration for this solution, are available under www.mautzurueck.de in English, German, Polish, Italian, Romanian, Slovak, Czech, Spanish, Dutch and Hungarian. In case operators decide to choose this solution, they will need to register before 4 December 2020 in order to avoid limitation of their 2017 claims.
Please note that the above alternatives cannot be combined – operators must choose one of them.