Companies have to be cautious when sending out newsletters and
other emails with advertising content. Before approaching someone
for marketing purposes, the recipient's prior consent must
generally be obtained. Unsolicited emails sent to private email
addresses violate the general right of personality. Exceptionally
permitted is only self-promotion sent to established customers.
The local court of Düsseldorf also declared an unsolicited
feedback request as impermissible (file number 20 C 6875/14). As
consumer habits were queried here, the breach of law was considered
even more severe than sending just a regular marketing email.
The district court of Stuttgart on the other hand recently
denied a breach of law regarding the sending of an automatic
confirmation of receipt (file number 4 S 165/14 – appeal
filed). The court reasoned that although this email mainly
contained advertisements apart from the receipt confirmation, it
was nevertheless caused by the inquiry of the customer and
In case of violations the recipient may give the company a
written warning and claim a declaration to cease and desist.
Attorney fees will have to be reimbursed. Furthermore, the Federal
Data Protection Act (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz) grants the
recipient a comprehensive right to information concerning his or
her personal data saved.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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