The Spirit of the Law
Review the test case itself: Bundesverband v Deutsche Internet Versicherung 2008.
Service providers must provide details including e-mail address to allow the supplier to be “contacted rapidly and communicated with in a direct and effective manner”.
If you can show that a means of contact was provided, that allows “rapid, direct and effective means of communication”, this should be adequate defence.
The Court further held a communication is effective if it enables adequate information to be obtained within a period which meets the legitimate expectations of the customer.
The means of communication need not be a direct verbal communication and does not have to be instantaneous.
In the case, the Court considered an online form offered a ‘direct and effective’ means of communication within the meaning of the Directive.
In this case if the online retailer answered questions, sent by customers, within 30 to 60 minutes this was considered sufficient.
The case then goes to state that if, after first contacting the on-line retailer electronically through its website, a customer ceases to have access to the internet, communication by an enquiry template can no longer be regarded as “effective”.
So, in such circumstances, a telephone number will satisfy this requirement.
Sources: Charles Russell soiicitors (PDF), Out-law.com