German Court: Survey Questions Turn Email Invoices Into Spam

Marketers who ask customer satisfaction questions when sending email invoices are causing trouble under European law, according to a legal analysis by Mondaq. The case is an apparent eye-opener for U.S. firms that are not accustomed to dealing with the intricacies of European courts, and is a harbinger of how GDPR could be enforced. 

The German Federal Supreme Court ruled in July that customer satisfaction surveys are a form of advertising, and thus constitute spam when included with email invoices, Mondaq reports.

Two lower courts said the email was a legitimate transactional message and not spam. But the higher court ruled that the inclusion of the questions changed the communications into unsolicited email advertising.

The email in question failed to include a required notice that the customer could object to the use of the email address for that purpose.

With such a notice, a company apparently can advertise similar products or services without consent.

The email violated the plaintiff’s “personality rights.”

The Mondaq article does not identify the sender of the offending email. However, it reproduces the email as follows: 

Dear Sir or Madam, 

Enclosed you find your invoice in PDF format. Thank you very much for buying the article from us. We are a young company which is why we rely on goods reviews. That's why we kindly ask you to give us a five-star review if you are satisfied with our services.

In case there is anything wrong with the delivered article or our service, we kindly ask you to contact us. We can then address the problem.

How to write a review: simply log in and write a review by following this link"


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