Following the ECJ decision on the use of paid numbers to contact an online retailer (CJEU, judgment of 02.03.2017 – Rs. C -568/15), there is now also further clarity regarding the use of a paid service number in the Within the scope of a revocation instruction: The OLG Hamburg considered the use of a paid value-added service number in a revocation instruction to be inadmissible in a model procedure conducted by the Competition Centre.
At first instance, the LG Hamburg had taken the view that it was not anti-competitive to indicate, within a revocation notice, a paid 01805 number under which the consumer could exercise his right of withdrawal. In particular, this was justified on the ground that, in the specific case, the consumer is not obliged to pay more than the basic tariff. The concept of ‘basic tariff’ must be interpreted as meaning that the consumer only has to pay the costs incurred by the communications service provider and that he does not have to pay a surcharge for the trader. In addition, the cost of a maximum of 42 cents per minute in mobile communications or 14 cents/minute on landlines is not in itself so high as to deter a consumer from exercising the right of withdrawal. This is all the more true since an e-mail address was still held, through which the right of withdrawal could be exercised free of charge. In the opinion of LG Hamburg, the clause requiring a maximum of 42 cents (mobile) or 14 cents (fixed) per call was also not objectionable, since that clause would lead to even fewer costs in the exercise of the right of withdrawal.
The Hanseatic Higher Regional Court of Hamburg took a different view on appeal, which had clearly stated at the hearing that a chargeable 01805 number was in any case against Paragraph 3a of the UWG in conjunction with Paragraph 312a(3) of the UWG. 5 BGB. Admittedly, the rules in Paragraph 312a,para. 5 BGB does not comply with the requirement of Directive 2011/83/EU, but the clear wording of the ECJ in its judgment of 02.03.2017 (rs. C-568/15) allows for training in national law in conformity with the directive. The Senate pointed out that there was no general basic tariff, but that the telephone numbers offered were more expensive than a “normal phone number”. Even Deutsche Telekom’s fixed-line tariff is lower than the defendant’s 01805 number.
This resolves the legal issues raised. No paid numbers may be provided for contacting the company by telephone or within a revocation instruction, under which the consumer can call the company. In addition, the correct phone number must always be used(see this article).