The Consumer Rights Enforcement Act (Verbraucherrechtedurchsetzungsgesetz) (VDuG) came into force in Germany on 13 October 2023, completing the long overdue implementation of the EU Representative Actions Directive.

The VDuG introduces a new class action which, for the first time in Germany, allows consumers to pursue damages claims against companies. The VDuG contains significant amendments compared to the draft bill which was considered in this previous article. The amendments include:

  • Allowing small companies to take part in a class action (in addition to natural persons) only if they employ fewer than 10 people at the time the claim is filed and their annual turnover or annual balance sheet total does not exceed €2 million.
  • Requiring consumer associations to present "in a comprehensible manner" that the claims of at least 50 consumers could be affected by the class action, rather than requiring an enhanced form of proof.
  • Lowering the requirements for the similarity of the claims affected by the class action, so that the claims at issue must only be "essentially similar".
  • Extending the opt-in period so that consumers must register or withdraw their claims in writing only after the conclusion of the court hearings (but before a judgment is given).
  • Introducing stricter requirements for litigation funding.

For more information see this article on our firm's website.

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.