Blog » THE AMAZON CASE IN LUXEMBOURG – CUSTOMER HELPLINE OF WEBSHOPS ON TARGET
THE AMAZON CASE IN LUXEMBOURG – CUSTOMER HELPLINE OF WEBSHOPS ON TARGET
04 September 2019
In the recent days you may have heard the name of Amazon mostly because of the rainforest fires in Brazil. But if you operate a web shop, or just plan to do it, you will be more interested by the Amazon case in Luxembourg. Indeed, the Court of Justice of the European Union has delivered a judgment in the summer, which sheds light on how customer relation with online buyers should be maintained by web-shops in the EU
According to the German Federal Union of Consumer Organisations and Associations (“Federal Union”), the contacts section of Amazon web page did not comply with the European Union rules, as the telephone and fax numbers were not adequately provided.
In fact, the users could reach their telephone number by more clicks, and the fax number was not indicated on the webpage. Furthermore, communication devices which are not mentioned in the European Union directive on this subject, like instant messaging or a telephone call-back system were applied on the Internet site.
The application of the Federal Union was dismissed at first and second instance. The case was brought before the Court of European Union in Luxembourg (“the Court”), and its judgment could help to find your way around how to communicate with your consumers.
The Court had to decide three issues, which, I beg, you have already faced when operating your web shop.
The first question was, whether the German rule, requiring the indication of a telephone number on the webpage, was valid under European Union law.
The second issue was, whether a web-shop should to create a telephone or fax line, or new email address for consumers.
Finally, the Court also had to decide whether you, as a web-shop owner can use new means of communication, which are not mentioned in the European Union legislation, such as instant messaging or a telephone call-back system.
The Court established that you shall not provide, in all circumstances, your telephone number with the consumers. When justifying its decision, the Court referred to the smallest companies who do not necessarily have telephone number, and the German rule providing that it is compulsory, would run counter to their interest.
While this reasoning is correct, it may seem to be a little bit odd in a court procedure against a retail giant, like Amazon.
The Court also stated, that establishing a telephone, fax line and creating an email address to communicate with consumers is an disproportionate obligation. Indication of the fax number or email address is only compulsory where you already have those means of communication with consumers.
In the answer of the last question the Court established that you can maintain relation with your consumers with other means of communication than those listed in that European Directive, if these means of communication are direct and effective.
In the above judgment, the Court of Justice of the European Union established that what conditions should you comply with when maintaining relation with your on-line buyers, however, you can choose the most appropriate means of communication with your customers.
In the light of the decision, you can use flexible and cost-effective methods of communication in your web-shop.
IS THE JUDGE BIASED BECAUSE OF UNFAVOURABLE JUDGMENT IN OTHER CASE?
Can a judge be disqualified from deciding the legal dispute on the grounds of bias if he has delivered a judgment unfavourable to the plaintiff in another case? Can a court be biased if the plaintiff has "challenged" a previous decision of the court before the European Court of Human Rights? In this article, we answer these questions by analysing a recent judgment of the Hungarian Supreme Court.Read more »
CAN INCOMPATIBLE WORKPLACE BEHAVIOUR BE A GROUND FOR DISMISSAL IN HUNGARY?
Refusal of employer 's instructions, unjustified absence, intentional damage: some cases where the justification for dismissing an employee is relatively easy to determine. What happens, however, if the employee does not commit a severe breach of duty similar to the one above, but his or her colleagues consider him incompatible, with whom it is impossible to cooperate, or even afraid of him or her. Can dismissal be justified by behaviour that is incompatible with others and creates disharmony in the working environment? In our article, we seek the answer to this question in the light of Hungarian judicial practice.Read more »
CAN A JUDICIAL ERROR CREATE HUNGARIAN JURISDICTION DESPITE A PLACE OF PERFORMANCE ABROAD?
Can a defendant, domiciled abroad, be sued in Hungary under the Brussels I Regulation in the event of defective performance of an international sales contract if the place of performance is abroad? Can the jurisdiction of a Hungarian court be established based on the fact that the lower court expressly established its jurisdiction at the beginning of the litigation? How is the EXW clause to be interpreted within the meaning of the Brussels I Regulation? In our article, we analyse the recent decision of the Supreme Court of Hungary.Read more »