Section 1 General
(1) These General Terms of Business shall apply for all courses and events organized and hosted by the adult education institution Volkshochschule Bonn (hereinafter referred to as VHS), including those realized by means of electronic data transmission, but not in relations with participants who have been referred to VHS by social security institutions (ARGE, Jobcenter, employment agency, pension insurance funds, Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, etc.).
(2) Study tours, excursions and events for which a third party is named as organizer and contractual partner are not VHS events. VHS shall only act as intermediary in this context.
(3) Insofar as the masculine form is used in the provisions of these General Terms of Business, this is merely done for the sake of simplicity. The provisions also apply equally for women and legal entities.
(4) Unless specified otherwise in the present General Terms of Business or the consumer's statutory right of revocation in conjunction with distance selling transactions, legal declarations (e.g. applications, notice of rescission or termination) shall only be valid if made in writing or equivalent technical form of communication (fax, e-mail, e-post). Declarations by VHS shall comply with the requirement for written form when an unsigned preprinted confirmation form is used.
Section 2 Conclusion of contract
(1) Courses and events shall be announced without obligation. Such announcements shall not constitute an offer to conclude a contract.
(2) A contract shall be concluded when the participant applies to take part in the course or event and the application is accepted by VHS. The contract shall be deemed to have been concluded when acceptance of the application is explicitly confirmed by VHS in text or written form, or 14 days following receipt of the application unless explicitly refused by VHS in writing.
(3) If the announcement of a course or event contains a closing date for applications or if the course or event has already commenced, all applications received by VHS after the closing date for applications or after commencement of the course or event must, in derogation of paragraph (2) above, be explicitly accepted. Without such acceptance, the application shall be deemed to have been refused.
(4) If all the places available for a course or event have already been taken when the application is received, the applicant shall be put on a waiting list and informed of this circumstance within five working days. The applicant shall then declare, within five working days, whether he wishes to wait for a vacancy within the minimum time-limit specified in paragraph (2) above, or whether his name is to be deleted from the waiting list.
(5) The statutory right of revocation in conjunction with distance selling transactions shall remain unaffected by the provisions of paragraphs (2) to (4) above.
Section 3 Contractual partner and participant
(1) On conclusion of the contract, contractual rights and duties shall only be established between VHS as organizer and the contractual partner. The contractual partner may also establish the right to participate on behalf of a third party who shall be named to VHS. The participation of persons other than those named shall require the consent of VHS. VHS shall not refuse its consent without good cause. All provisions governing the contractual partner shall apply accordingly for the third party.
(2) VHS may make participation contingent upon personal and/or technical requirements. Participants must be at least 15 years old. VHS may grant exceptions to the rule for individual participants and/or events.
(3) VHS shall be entitled but not obliged to confirm applications. If such confirmation is issued, the participant shall be obliged to carry the confirmation letter with him and to present it to an authorized representative of VHS on demand. If this is not done for reasons for which the participant or contractual partner is responsible, the contractual partner may be excluded from the course or event without acquiring any entitlement to reimbursement of the fee paid.
Section 4 Participation certificate and evaluation
(1) If desired by the contractual partner, participation certificates shall be issued subject to the proviso that
• the fee (Section 5) has been paid in full,
• the participant has attended at least 80% of the full course or event duration, and
• the course or event or the last of several course or event parts was held not more than ten years previously.
(2) VHS shall be entitled to conduct surveys among the participants in order to assure the quality of its events and courses. The survey shall be conducted on a voluntary basis and anonymously.
Section 5 Fee
(1) The fee for a course or event (fee) shall be stated in the VHS announcement (programme, public notice, etc.) valid at the time of receiving the application and shall be due on commencement of the course or event concerned.
(2) A discount of 30% on the fee shall be granted to severely disabled persons within the meaning of Section 1 of the German Disabilities Act (SchwG) (with a degree of disability of at least 50%), schoolchildren, students, au-pairs, trainees, people completing a voluntary social year and people performing federal voluntary service. Holders of the entitlement card issued by the City of Bonn (so-called Bonn Card) shall be granted a 50% discount on the fee.
(3) Entitlement to a discount shall be proved through submission of a printed or electronic copy of the relevant documents (permits, certification of service, etc.) on filing the application (Section 2), but at the latest seven days before the fee is due (Section 5, paragraph (1) above). Documents received by VHS after this time-limit shall be disregarded.
(4) Discounts shall in all cases be excluded for the following: examination fees, preventive courses, learning aids included in the fee, study trips and excursions, as well as specifically designated events.
Section 6 Organizational changes
(1) Participants shall not be entitled to demand that a course or event be held by a specific course leader. This shall also apply even when the course leader has been named when announcing the course or event.
(2) VHS may change the time and venue of a course or event for technical reasons.
(3) If part of a course or event has to be cancelled for reasons for which VHS is not responsible (e.g. due to illness of the course leader), this part may be held at a later date. However, participants shall not be entitled to demand that it be held. Section 7, paragraph 2, second sentence, shall apply accordingly if the cancelled part of a course or event does not take place.
(4) Courses and events shall not take place as a matter of principle on all public holidays in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Section 7 Rescission and termination by VHS
(1) Unless specified otherwise in the announcement for a course or event, the minimum number of participants shall be ten (10). In justified individual cases, VHS may change the number of participants. VHS may rescind the contract if the minimum number is not reached. The contractual partner shall not incur any costs as a result. VHS shall be entitled to reach an agreement with its contractual partner to hold courses or events with smaller groups in return for a higher fee.
(2) In addition, VHS may rescind or terminate the contract if a course or event has to be cancelled partly or completely for reasons for which VHS is not responsible (e.g. due to illness of the course leader). In such a case, the fee shall be repaid to the contractual partner on a pro rata basis in accordance with the number of completed units in relation to the total number of course units.
(3) If the fee due is not paid within ten (10) days of the due date (Section 5, paragraph (1)), VHS may set a period of grace with simultaneous notice of rescission if it expires fruitlessly and may then rescind the contract. In such a case, the contractual partner shall be obliged to pay 5% of the fee for the course or event, notwithstanding further sums claimed for processing the application, but not more the EUR 20 in total. The contractual partner shall be entitled to prove that the actual costs are lower than the agreed lump-sum. The contractual partner's statutory right of revocation shall remain unaffected.
(4) VHS may terminate the contract in accordance with the provisions of Section 314 of the German Civil Code (BGB). Good cause shall apply in the following cases in particular:
• Anti-social behaviour in courses or events despite admonishment and threat of termination by the course leader, in particular by disrupting the flow of information or obstructing the course or event through noise or troublemaking.
• Issuing insults of any kind against the course leader, other participants or employees of VHS.
• Discriminating people on account of personal characteristics (age, sex, race, nationality or religion, etc.).
• Abusing the course or event for political or ideological purposes or for agitation of any kind.
(5) In lieu of termination, VHS may also exclude the participant from a course unit. VHS' entitlement to the fee shall not be affected by any such termination or exclusion.
Section 8 Termination and revocation by the contractual partner
(1) Unless specified otherwise in the programme announcement, the contractual partner shall be entitled to terminate the contract in writing up to 14 days before commencement of the event in the case of educational trips and up to seven (7) days before commencement of other courses or events. A cancellation fee of EUR 6.10 shall be payable. The full fee shall be payable if notice of termination is received by the VHS administration after the applicable deadline.
Transfers within a semester shall basically be possible once only in the case of courses with more than 10 course units without affecting costs, provided that free places are available.
(2) Applications for single events with a fee of less than EUR 6.10 may be terminated free of charge up to seven (7) days before the event, unless a different time-limit has been specified when announcing the event. The full fee shall be payable if notice of termination is received after this deadline.
(3) Informing the course leader accordingly or failing to attend the course shall not constitute termination of the contract.
(4) If the event or course displays a defect capable of permanently impairing the purpose of the course or event, the contractual partner shall inform VHS of the defect and set a reasonable period of grace within which to remedy the defect. If this is not done, the contractual partner may terminate the contract for good cause on expiry of the time-limit.
(5) The contractual partner may also terminate the contract if his further attendance at the course or event becomes intolerable on account of organizational changes (Section 6). In such a case, the fee shall be due on a pro rata basis in accordance with the number of completed units in relation to the total number of course units.
(6) Statutory rights of revocation (e.g. in conjunction with distance selling transactions) shall remain unaffected. If the contractual partner exercises his statutory right of revocation, he shall return any course materials already received, insofar as these can be sent by parcel post. The contractual partner shall bear the regular cost of returning materials worth less than EUR 50.
Section 9 Entitlement to damages
The contractual partner or participant shall not be entitled to claim damages from VHS, except in the following cases:
• Wilful intent and gross negligence.
• If VHS culpably violates the contractual partner's rights in accordance with the content and purpose of the contract or without which due execution of the contract would be impossible and which the contractual partner can normally expect to be observed (cardinal duties).
• In the event of a culpable violation resulting in death, bodily injury or damage to health.
Section 10 Concluding provisions
(1) The right to set off own claims against the claims of VHS shall be excluded, unless the counter-claim has been acknowledged by VHS or established by a court of law.
(2) Claims against VHS may not be assigned to third parties.
(3) Information pertaining to a person's age and sex is exclusively collected for statistical purposes. VHS shall be permitted to collect, store and process personal particulars for purposes associated with execution of the contract. This may be refused by the contractual partner at any time.