Using E-Commerce Law to build Confidence?

Rechtsanwalt Dr. Wulf Hambach

Hambach & Hambach Rechtsanwälte
Haimhauser Str. 1
D - 80802 München
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Twelve-point-recommendation catalogue published by the German Association of Digital Commerce (Bundesverband der Digitalen Wirtschaft) for online providers.

A report by Attorneys-at-law Dr. Wulf Hambach and Dr. Hendrik Schöttle, Hambach & Hambach

Anyone who deals with E-Commerce law is confronted with a vast catalogue of requirements, which range from information duties, down to the last detail, to organisational measures and the necessity of obtaining numerous consents from the customer. Most of the time, it is only the threat of fines and the risk of civil law proceedings, which cause firms to implement the extensive obligations.

Now the Confidence Working Group, to which the German Association of Digital Commerce belongs, has published a recommendation catalogue, which – as the name of the working group suggests – focuses on confidence-building measures. This is because there is still a major lack of confidence on the part of those who decline to take part in online commerce. According to the Chairman of the E-Commerce section, Roland Fesenmayr (OXID eSales GmbH), „Confidence is as ever the most important basis for online trade. Anyone who does not take this seriously risks losing much potential.“ In doing so, it is mainly simple things, which have to be considered by the online provider in order to increase confidence (and thereby, sales).

If one scans the list of requirements, which the Working Committee considers to be of confidence-building effect, the whole thing reads as a foray into IT law. First, is the Provider Identification (Anbieterkennzeichnung, required under the Tele-services Law, similar to an „Impressum“ – legal information and contact details), then product and price transparency (requirements under the Distance Sales Law), while data protection and the consumer’s right of revocation are mentioned.

Even if many regulations are not particularly sensible in their definition as duties, it can be seen that a professional Internet appearance can not do without a basic structure of technical, information and security elements. The Recommendation Catalogue by the German Association of Digital Commerce has now shown that the legal and commercial interests are not as far apart as might first appear. Anyone who operates in line with the recommendation catalogue and also ensures legal compliance by carrying out their Internet law duties kills two birds with the one stone: He doesn’t just protect himself from civil competition law proceedings and fines, he also – in face of increasing pressure from competition – ensures consumer confidence, which can quickly be turned into a commercial advantage.

Editor (responsible for the publication):
Attorney at law Dr. Wulf Hambach

Editorial Staff:
Attorney at law Dr. Wulf Hambach
Attorney at law Claus Hambach
Attorney at law Andreas Gericke
Attorney at law Dr. Hendrik Schöttle
Legal Assistant Sarah Madden