On October 16, 2008, the European Court of Justice (ECJ), interpreting Article 5 of the e-Commerce Directive (Directive 2000/31/EC), ruled that information society service providers must provide their clients with an alternative means of communication beside electronic mail prior to the conclusion of a contract. However, the listing of a telephone number on the company’s website is not necessarily required. The ECJ stated that this alternative means of communication can take the form of electronic enquiry templates through which the client can contact the service provider via the internet. Nevertheless, the service provider must also provide non-electronic means of communication in cases where the client specifically requests offline communication because he has no access to an electronic network. The full text of the Court’s ruling is available here.