Fair Commerce - Against the Abuse of Legal Warnings
Legal written warnings have been the scourge of e-commerce for ages and at their worst can threaten one’s online presence. As the representative for the e-commerce industry, we see the hardships that online merchants have to deal with on a daily basis.
Together with our members, we have established the Fair Commerce - Against the Abuse of Legal Warnings Initiative. Competition in online trade is good and important - but we want that competition to be fair!
After only one year, 50,000 online shops have already joined the Fair Commerce Initiative. Come aboard!
Andreas Arlt, Federal Chairman, Händlerbund
Does the initiative mean that Händlerbund is against legal warnings?
No, the initiative isn’t in place to abolish legal warnings. Legal warnings are market-regulating and an important instrument against unfair competition and/or legal violations.
Do participants in the initiative lose their right to give legal written warnings?
No, the initiative is not meant to waive one’s right to legally warn other parties.
The initiative’s goal is to assist the participants in maintaining an even playing field, clearing up competition, brand and copyright violations efficiently and at no cost.
If the warned party doesn’t react within 7 days or a satisfactory outcome is not reached within said period, a legal warning (at cost) can be issued or court action can be sought out.
What security do I have that when I “warn” a competitor and move ahead without a legal written warning, that they immediately remove the legal discrepancy (-ies)?
The initiative’s goal is to clear up competition, brand and copyright violations efficiently and at no cost.
As a participant in the initiative you can rest assured that when you find a legal discrepancy in an online shop from another participant, that participant will remove the discrepancy when asked.
A waiver of claims of injunction or other forms of financial harm, i.e.- brand or copyright claims is not meant.
Does the initiative come at any cost to me?
The initiative comes at absolutely no cost to you. On the contrary, you help to keep costs down with your participation.
Do I have to renounce my claims for damages?
The initiative gives the participants the chance to clear up discrepancies without costly legal written warnings.
All other claims will not be affected by this. This means that an adversarial claim generated by you towards another party is punishable by law; that includes all other claims of this sort, i.e.- those involving copyright law and brand infringement , as well as entitlement to information or damage claims.
Is there a standard template I can use when I write to a competitor?
No, we don’t offer such a template.
It is enough to write a letter in which you state clearly the identified mistakes and requirements.
What happens when I receive, without any advance warning, a legal written warning from a participant of the Händlerbund Initiative?
These kinds of legal written warnings point out the entire purpose of the initiative; to detect legal errors and point out requirements of the party being warned. No costs arise in these cases (at least not for the one giving the warning).
What happens when the party being warned doesn’t react?
If the party being warned doesn’t react within 7 days or if no satisfactory agreement is reached, then the path to a legal written warning (at cost) can be taken as well as seeking court action.
How can I become a participant in the initiative?
Every member of the Händlerbund with the memberships Basic, Premium and Unlimited can take part in the Initiative. The only requirement is to recognise the Participation Rules of the Fair Commerce Initiative. The Initiative Application can be completed in the member area of the website.
The Results of the Fair Commerce - Against the Abuse of Legal Warnings Survey
Therefore, 96% of our Händlerbund members have joined the Fair Commerce Initiative.
Nearly all member (99%) agree that legal discrepancies in their online shops or websites should be pointed out before a legal written warning is issued.
Just as many members (99%) agree that they would like to be notified by their fellow members/participants if they have legal discrepancies in their online shops or websites before a legal written warning is issued.
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This is how you know someone is participating in the initiative.
"We are a member of the Fair Commerce Initiative"
Further information can be found at:
In addition, each participant can use the FairCommerce logo for integration on its website and in its business communication.
Unfortunately, sending legal written warnings has become some kind of sport in Germany that costs a lot of time, energy and bother; whilst many innovations fall by the wayside. It would be much more effective if the industry would unite itself to work on the good of the customers, and the customers customers, to offer the best possible customer service.
In this way everyone involved would win - that is why we support the Fair Commerce Initiative and gladly stand as its contact in Austria.
Would you like to become a participant in “Fair Commerce” or would like to have further information?
Then contact us - we will get back to you without delay!
The terms of participation on the Fair Commerce Initiative can be found here.
Do you have any questions, suggestions or wishes for the Fair Commerce Initiative? Write to us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us at +49 341 926590.