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Cancellation of online subscriptions must be possible without a password!

In an exciting ruling, the Regional Court of Munich I decided that it must be possible to cancel online subscriptions without entering a password. This ruling, followed by a lawsuit by the German Federation of Consumer Organizations (vzbv) against Sky Deutschland, has important implications for providers of online services. It is in line with other judgments that I have reported on here and fits in with another decision by Munich Regional Court.

The case: Sky and the streaming service Wow

The case centered on Sky Deutschland’s streaming service Wow. Previously, subscribers had to log into their customer account to cancel, which required them to enter an e-mail address and password. However, the court ruled that the name and other identifying features such as address and date of birth should be sufficient for termination. The need to remember a password that may have been set a long time ago was seen as an unnecessary restriction.

Legal basis and decision criteria

The court based its decision on Section 312k of the German Civil Code (BGB), which regulates the requirements for online termination processes. It was emphasized that a cancellation button must lead directly to a page on which the cancellation can be declared without prior login or password entry. Sky’s practice of requiring registration and password entry was deemed to be a breach of consumer protection.

Implications for online service providers

This ruling has far-reaching consequences for all providers of online services. It underlines the need to make termination processes simple and straightforward. Providers must ensure that their termination processes comply with legal requirements and do not present unnecessary hurdles for consumers.

Outlook and possible consequences

The judgment is not yet final, as Sky has lodged an appeal. However, it sets a clear standard for the design of online termination processes and could serve as a reference for future cases. It is to be expected that this ruling will influence the practice of providers with regard to online terminations.

The ruling by the Munich Regional Court significantly strengthens the position of consumers. It underlines the importance of the cancel button and the need to be able to terminate online contracts simply and easily. The vzbv has already established that many providers have not yet implemented the legal requirements, or have done so inadequately. This ruling could therefore represent a turning point and lead to improved practice in the design of online termination processes.

Overall, this judgment highlights the importance of striking a balance between consumer protection and the operational requirements of online services. It emphasizes the need for online contracts to be transparent and consumer-friendly, which is beneficial for providers and consumers alike.

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.


03322 5078053