Internet Sales in Germany: Vendors Must Align Order Menus With New Regulation

    View Authors May 2012

    On 1 August 2012 new legislation against “cost traps” during online transactions will enter into force in Germany.

    A legal contract will not be formed if the information requirements are disregarded.

    The new legislation requires online businesses to inform consumers: 

    • directly before they place an order 
    • in clear terms 
    • in a comprehensible way

    These rules apply to the essential characteristics of the relevant product or service – such as the price.

    A valid contract shall only be formed where the information requirements have been regarded and the consumer has explicitly confirmed their obligation to make a payment. Where the order is placed by means of activating a button, the button must be clearly labelled in a legible fashion with the notice or with a similar, clear formulation “button solution”.

    If a business fails to fulfil the new information requirements following section 312g of the German Civil Code, a legal contract will not be formed. The burden of proving fulfilment of such obligations lies solely with the business.

    For further information, please contact a member of the Squire Sanders Intellectual Property & Technology Practice Group or the contact listed in this Alert.