Missing Basic Price Information in E-commerce is Always Anticompetitive

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Despite the obligation to state them, base prices are not always stated in online sales offers, making them basically illegal under German law. Contrary to an earlier Court decision, under the requirements of European law there is no room to assume that an infringement is a merely trivial matter.

According to the earlier ruling of a German judge, any failure to state the basic price may in principle be seen as trivial. The Court of Appeals justified the new legal opinion thus: that there is an obligation under Community law to specify a base price under Article 3, paragraph 4 of the consumer protection policy on the regulation of prices. Because of this requirement under European law, it always constitutes a major violation and it is thus no trifling matter if information concerning the basic price is completely absent. Moreover, it is the opinion of the judges that such a breach of a duty to provide information could be interpreted as misleading by omission.

European law leaves no choice but to see any lack of basic price information as a serious anticompetitive violation. Therefore, all e-commerce providers in Germany are required to act on the basis of this decision, commented Sascha Faber, LL.M., attorney, lawyer specialising in intellectual property, copyright and media law at the office of volke2.0.

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