Millions of Android phone users download files or apps from Google’s Play Store. However, the Regional Court of Cologne has now ruled in favour of the Consumer Centre NRW that Google Commerce Limited would not yet properly inform about the loss of the right of withdrawal.

In general, if you buy something on the Internet a digital item such as a movie, a program, an app or a piece of music, you have a right of withdrawal of 14 days.

Since it is difficult to return digital items, the right of withdrawal can expire if you have expressly agreed before the purchase that the download should begin. In addition, customers must confirm their knowledge that they will lose the legal right of withdrawal by starting the download.

Before the verdict, customers could not confirm this in the Play Store. Before clicking on the “Buy” button, Google only gave the following note: “When you click ‘Buy’, you agree to the Google Play Terms of Service. You also agree that your order will be executed immediately and that you will lose your legal right of withdrawal (except for services…).”

The reference was not sufficient for the Regional Court of Cologne. Users must be made clearly accountable for the loss of their right of withdrawal. By clicking on “Buy”, however, the focus is on completing the order. Customers would have to explicitly agree that the download should start immediately and thereby give up their right of withdrawal.

The General Court also made it generally clear that such consent must not be brought about by a pre-set. A box, which is therefore already ticked, would therefore also not be allowed.

Google has appealed to the Higher Regional Court of Cologne, but at first glance the decision seems to have many correct points. The declaration of loss of the right of withdrawal may only be made after the conclusion of the contract. This is not the case when the two are linked. By the way, the District Court of Berlin has recently made a similar decision. It is therefore advisable that sellers of digital content carefully control and possibly modify the order process’s own process.


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