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Court ruling: Netflix meets European obligation to provide an online contact option for customers

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) had imposed an order subject to periodic penalty payments on Netflix International, compelling the company to provide an email address at a clear location on its website. ACM had imposed this order following requests filed by regulators in Belgium, Germany, and Austria. Under European regulations, only ACM is authorized to take action, because Netflix’s headquarters is registered in the Netherlands.

European rules and regulations mandate that consumers have access to information with which they can, at all times, get in touch directly and easily with companies that offer their services online. This information must be provided in a manner that is clear and comprehensible for everyone. Following case law regarding this last point, this can be interpreted as an obligation to offer a contact option over email or a contact form (see, among other rulings, the ruling of March 19, 2015, ECLI:NL:RBROT:2015:1868).

In this case, however, the District Court of Rotterdam has ruled that the live chat that Netflix offers, meets the European obligation to provide an electronic mail address that is easy, direct and permanently accessible, as laid down in Section 3:15d, paragraph 1, under b, of the Dutch Civil Code.

Read the full ruling on (in Dutch)