The owner of a residential property (applicant) located in the region of Hessischer Rundfunk (defendant), a federal Land broadcasting organisation governed by public law and is for that reason obliged to pay to the defendant a radio and television licence fee.
The applicant offered to pay the radio and television licence fee in cash, but the defendant refused that offer, referring to Article 10(2) of its Licence fee statutes. Pursuant to that provision, the radio and television licence fee may be paid only by way of cashless payment — by direct debit, individual transfer or standing order.
By decision of 1 September 2015, the defendant set overdue radio and television licence fees of EUR 52.50 for the second quarter of 2015 and a surcharge of EUR 8 for late payment. By decision of 31 March 2016, the defendant rejected the applicant’s objection.
The applicant brought an action, requesting that the two decisions referred to above be annulled. In the alternative, he requested a declaration establishing that he is entitled to pay radio and television licence fees to the defendant in cash. The action was unsuccessful at first and second instance.
The applicant continues to seek the same form of order by way of the appeal on a point of law brought before the referring court. As his grounds, he asserts that the second sentence of Paragraph 14(1) of the BBankG and the third sentence of Article 128(1) TFEU each make provision for an unconditional and unrestricted obligation to accept euro banknotes as a means for the settlement of monetary debts. This obligation, he argues, may be restricted only by a contractual agreement between the parties or on the basis of authorisation under federal or EU legislation. This is also the case if reasons of practicability militate in favour of the exclusion of cash payments in the context of mass procedures.