Many people assume that contracts can be cancelled simply by telquel or that purchased products can be returned. This is a mistake, especially in Switzerland. In general the Latin proverb applies: pacta sunt servanda, i.e. contracts must be fulfilled. Even though the Federal Supreme Court has ruled that there are no «perpetual contracts» (BGE 114 II 159 «Beer supply agreement»), contracts can in principle only be terminated if they contain a termination clause. The idea that contracts can be terminated telquel probably stems from the fact that especially in e-commerce most dealers now provide a «money-back guarantee«», i.e. the possibility to return products without reason. In addition, the EU Consumer Rights Directive provides for a general fortnightly right of revocation of digitally concluded contracts in the business-to-consumer area (B2C, consumer contracts) for the EU area. Such a general right of withdrawal, especially for digitally concluded contracts, does not exist in Switzerland.
Contracts for a fixed period of time, on the other hand, expire at the end of that period. In practice, there is a need for contracts for a fixed period to be automatically renewed under certain conditions. Such clauses are often wrongly formulated by mixing contracts for an indefinite period with contracts for a fixed period. The legally correct wording is as follows:
This agreement is concluded for an indefinite period. It may be terminated by giving notice of [number of days or months] at [date], for the first time at [date at the end of the minimum period provided for, de facto the specified period].