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By Dr. Astrid Plantiko – German Attorney at Law at WINHELLER

Nearly every company uses newsletters to inform its current and potential customers about news, special offers etc. However, sending out newsletters is not quite as simple as it may appear at first glance. Because sending out newsletters is not allowed, unless customers have expressly consented to receive them.

Permission by “double opt-in”

Recipients give their permission through the so-called “double opt-in” process. “Double opt-in” is a method to consent to receive advertising e-mails. In the first step of the opt-in process, interested recipients fill out a sign-up form for the newsletter service. Then, in a second step, they have to confirm their contact address.

The burden of proof lies with companies

The “double opt-in” process is very important for advertising companies. Because in case of doubt, the company will have to furnish proof that an addressee effectively consented to receive the newsletter. If the company is unable to prove this, the promotion will be deemed to be anti-competitive.

Warnings and actions for damages

In case of an illegal advertising activity, the company can receive a warning letter. Any attorney’s fees incurred in this context will routinely have to be paid by the company that acted in an anti-competitive manner and received the warning. In addition, the company risks to be sued for damages.

Warnings may be issued not only by other companies but also by consumer associations for the protection of consumers. And this can prove especially expensive. We recommend you to have your advertising activities in Germany reviewed for compliance with competition rules by an expert. Our experienced attorneys will be pleased to assist you.


WINHELLER Attorneys at Law & Tax Advisors
Tower 185
Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage 35-37
60327 Frankfurt/Main
Tel.: +49 (0)69 76 75 77 80
Fax: +49 (0)69 76 75 77 810