Points worthy of note in regard to periods of limitation for claims arising from commercial agency agreements in Austria

Any claims arising from the contractual relationship between the principal and the commercial agent shall become statute-barred after three years. This is stipulated by Sec. 18(1) of the Austrian Commercial Agency Act (HVertrG). This provision is not mandatory. The contracting parties can therefore also agree upon shorter periods of limitation (longer ones, on the other hand, not).

It is, however, to be noted that the commercial agent loses his or her claim to settlement if he or she does not notify the principal that he or she wishes to assert it within one year of the contract coming to an end (this is mandatorily laid down by law, see Sec. 24(5) Commercial Agency Act (HVertrG) in conjunction with Sec. 27 Commercial Agency Act (HVertrG)).

The three-year period of limitation is suspended until such time as the principal provides a “written answer” to the assertion of the claim being filed by the commercial agent pursuant to Sec. 18(3) Commercial Agency Act (HVertrG). This regulation is supposed to prevent the commercial agent from already having to assert his or her claims before a response is received from the principal.

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