E-commerce platforms are not obligated in all cases to make a telephone number available to consumers before the conclusion of the contract – there are other options.

In its decision C-649/19 the CJEU ruled on questions referred by the Federal Court of Justice of Germany on legal requirements about means of communication for e-commerce businesses.

CJEU decided that the Consumer Right’s Directive1 precludes the German law2 requiring traders to provide their telephone number in all circumstances before concluding a distance or off-premises contract with consumers.

However, traders who already use telephone or fax numbers or email addresses to communicate with consumers shall be required to provide these means of communication prior to concluding an e-commerce contract.

Furthermore, the CJEU decided that online traders may also use other means of communication, e.g. electronic contact forms, instant messaging or callback services allowing consumers to contact them quickly and to communicate with them efficiently provided that such means of communications are made accessible to the consumers in a clear and comprehensive manner in order to satisfy direct and efficient communication with traders.