German eBayer sued for no telephone number

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If you’re selling to Germany you need to be aware of a new Bamberg District Court ruling which makes it mandatory to display a phone number on your eBay listings (and probably also your website).

An retailer who had their email address and mail address specified in their eBay listings was taken to court by a competitor for not having a means by which they could be contacted within an hour or less. Apparently it’s anti-competitive, which (I guess) means that the competitor had invested in phone lines and customer support site and the seller who was sued hadn’t, thus lowering their overheads unfairly.

The ruling means, at least for the German market, that email and mailing address details combined with eBay My Messages isn’t sufficient contact information. Retailers must make direct communication methods available as well as fast electronic contact.

I’m still bemused by the number of eBay sellers and ecommerce websites who don’t display a telephone number. Countless times I’ve had customers phone me, sometimes for pre-sales questions which invariably have resulted in sales and on other occasions post-sales contacts which doubtless protected my feedback ratings.

Do you provide telephone contacts for your customers (and we’re not counting a pay as you go mobile permanently switched to answer phone!). Are you happy to talk to customers or do you force them down the email/webform route? One thing is certain and that is if you want to actively market to German consumers you need to make telephone contact available.

Many thanks to the guys at Create Your Template for the heads up on this story

7 Responses

  1. Was this a seller based in Germany or outside?

    I can imagine if it was out side they probably could not speak German as to the reason this was not displayed. Hence why they would want email only?

    However I have seen sellers in the UK with international phone numbers and would not think to call them, but rather send email/message.

  2. Great idea and we can all call and do off ebay sales makes the buyer experience much better and much cheaper as well.

  3. As a sole trader in a different time zone I do not want people calling me at all times of day and night. So I would have to get a different number and have it answered by a machine…. how does that help? If someone emails me – unless I am asleep I answer within a couple of hours usually.

  4. if your an ebay seller and answer the telephone to deal with customer enquires, or dont have a dedicated employee to do, your doing something wrong and your business is not selling enough and you have to much time on your hands, lol

  5. I don’t know if it came to transpire, but in November, weren’t anchor shops allowed to post their goods to many European eBay sites for free? This could open up a big can of worms.


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