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It is not enough to specify an email address with an automatic answer

The Regional Court in a ruling from November 3, 2014 (Case No. 15 O 318/13) decided that it is not enough to provide in an 'Impressum' on Internet an email address that gives you an automated reply referring to other communication channels.

The defendant is a provider of services that he markets on his website. In the imprint he provided only an email address. All those who sent an email to this address received an automated reply made by the provider of the website. With this automated reply the provider discloses other communication channels.

The Federal Association of Consumer Centers first gave a warning and then sued for an injunction. According to this association an imprint with only an email address and an automated reply is to be considered anticompetitive. The Regional Court Koblenz agreed with the Federal Association of Consumers Centers. According to article § 5 TMG the provider of a website must supply all the necessary information. To that end he must give details, including the email address that allows a visitor of the webpage to establish a contact. The defendant manifestly infringes this principle, because the automated reply on his website does not allow anyone to establish a contact with him or any other kind of communication. The automated reply can be compared with a confirmation of receipt. As for the direct communication in accordance with article 5 paragraph1, number 2, TMG (German Telemedia law), the defendant refers only to the confirmation receipt. Thus the provider's imprint does not meet all the requirements according to article 5, paragraph1, number2, TMG.