As part of the new Fair Consumer Contracts Act, [Gesetz für Faire Verbraucherverträge; published in the Federal Gazette (Part I) no. 53/2021, p. 3433 et seq., full text publicly available (in German) Germany will soon require specific cancellation/termination mechanisms for consumer subscriptions. These mechanisms come on top of the updated EU-wide consumer contract rules under the EU Directives on Contracts for Digital Services and Content and on Contracts for the Consumer Sale of Goods and will take effect on July 1, 2022. Significant implementation effort is expected for affected providers.
Businesses offering subscriptions to German consumers will have to provide a specifically labeled button for their online retail channels that leads to a contact form through which consumers must be enabled to cancel existing subscriptions with the click of only one further button. If sufficient data to identify the subscription to be cancelled is entered by the consumer, the submission of the form will itself be a valid cancellation, the effect of which cannot be made subject to further steps such as logins or second factor (e.g., email, app) confirmations.
Failing to implement this “cancellation button” or “termination button” correctly will invalidate any minimum subscription terms or termination notice periods in contracts for which such button should have been provided and will be a breach of consumer protection that opens providers to cease and desist claims.