German Court Rules Consumers Should Be Compensated For Disruptions in Internet Service

By Stephen Fuchs on Email @StephenWFuchs

Yellow Ethernet plug

On Thursday, Germany’s Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe declared that the internet is an essential part of life for the country’s citizens.  We can probably all agree that it would be hard to go on for a few days without internet access, and even the intermittent times when your internet service is down can seem like the end of the world.  If you live in Germany, you still can’t be guaranteed that you’ll always have an internet connection, but if yours goes down, you now have a chance to be compensated for your loss.

This landmark ruling by the German court gives consumers the right to compensation from their internet providers when their service is interrupted, which is similar to recent rulings in France and Finland.  Before the ruling, consumers were already seeing refunds for interruptions in phone service, but when one German citizen lost his internet connection for two months, compensation for only his phone loss wasn’t enough.  He brought his cause to court with the belief that internet access should be included in the German law that states compensation should be available when there is a loss of use of any essential material item.

A court spokeswoman stated that “The Internet plays a very important role today and affects the private life of an individual in very decisive ways. Therefore loss of use of the Internet is comparable to the loss of use of a car.”

We will probably see other countries following with similar rulings over the next few years since the internet really is becoming a key part of people’s daily lives.  People should have the right to accessing information, and eventually a majority of information will only be found online.  Do you agree that the internet is an essential part of life today?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Source: Reuters, The Verge
Photo by Jonathan Ah Kit via flickr

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Stephen Fuchs
Stephen founded German Pulse and LGBT Germany out of a passion to introduce Americans to a Germany that goes beyond beer and polka (although with enough beer he has been known to polka it up a bit). He's a coffee addict, lover of wine and good times, a hit in the kitchen and editor of TV commercials. You can follow him on Twitter (@StephenWFuchs) to find out a lot more.
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