German court: webshops are not allowed to mention a vague delivery period when pre-ordering

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A German court has ruled that online stores in Germany are no longer allowed to use a vague indication for the delivery period for pre-orders. Simply stating that the product will be ‘coming soon’ is not enough.

If customers place an order with an online store for a product that is not yet available, a specific delivery period for the pre-ordered product must be stated. Mentioning a ‘coming soon’ with the delivery time is too vague an indication, a regional court from Munich has ruled in a case brought by a German consumer organization.

This case concerns orders for Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphones that were placed with MediaMarkt in August 2016. The consumers stated that the sales page stated that the phone would be available soon and that one could pre-purchase a copy, with no specific delivery period or date being mentioned. The German court finds that this is contrary to the seller’s legal obligation to provide information; an indefinite statement about the delivery is not allowed.

The present judgment is an affirmation of an earlier ruling on the matter of a lower court. MediaMarkt has told Heise through a spokeswoman that her company will not appeal, because vague indications about the delivery time such as ‘the article will be available soon’ would not have been used since January 2017.

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