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Online retailers don’t need to provide a phone number

The European Court of Justice has decided today that online retailers don’t need to provide a phone number, as long as customers are offered other ways to contact the ecommerce company.

It was the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV) that sued Amazon, because it didn’t offer a phone number that customers could call. In Germany, there’s a law that says online retailers need to provide a phone number.

Implications for all online retailers in Europe

But the Federal Court of Justice asked the European Court of Justice to interpret the relevant EU directive on consumer rights. This ruling would therefore have implications for the whole of the European Union and other online retailers, not just Amazon in Germany The European Court of Justice today decided that Amazon doesn’t have to be available by phone, as long as consumers have other methods to contact the online retailer.

Live chat or call-back function may also be used

The court ruling follows after earlier advice of the Advocate General in March of this year. The European law requires a seller to provide a means for direct and efficient communication, but this doesn’t have to be by phone. For example, an online chat service or a call-back function may also be used.