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Germany Fair Consumer Contracts

On March 1st, 2022, Germany’s new act for fair consumer contracts came into effect. The most relevant provisions regard the termination of subscription contracts for the provision of goods or services over time. 

All subscription plans are affected by the new criteria. Contracts and terms and conditions must be updated accordingly:

Please note: This applies to any consumer subscription contract.

From now on:

  • no subscription offered to consumers may have an initial term longer than two years;
  • the initial term may be extended tacitly (“auto renewal”). However, consumers must be given the option to prevent such tacit extension by terminating within a notice period no longer than one month prior to the tacit extension;
  • if the initial term is tacitly extended (i.e., unless the consumer terminates, the subscription is prolonged beyond the initial term), such extension must be open-ended. The consumer must have the right to terminate monthly. Therefore, it won’t be possible to renew the subscription for another 1-year-term.

This provision applies to subscription contracts closed starting from March 1st, 2022. Therefore, contracts already in place before this date are not subject to the new rules.

Please note: This only applies to consumer contracts closed online.

Online traders targeting consumers based in Germany must now make the following available to their users on or via their website/app:

  • a button, control, switch, or any other command that allows users to terminate the contract easily. The law also regulates the following steps of the procedure: users must be redirected to a form in which they may insert their personal details, choose the kind of termination (ordinary/extraordinary for cause), etc. and eventually have the opportunity to review their statement before confirming;
  • a downloadable copy (PDF) of the termination submitted as explained above bearing date and time for record-keeping purposes;
  • an e-mail confirmation of receipt of the termination submitted.
In case of non-compliance with the termination button requirements by traders, users shall be entitled to terminate any contract without reasons and without any notice period (i.e., with immediate effect).

This provision applies to all subscription contracts starting from July 1st, 2022, regardless of when they have been concluded.

Further reading: