Penalties for non-compliance
What are the penalties for non-compliance?
In the case of infringement of the provisions of the UWG, the consequences are predominantly of a civil law nature. Possible civil claims are e.g. injunctive relief (s.8 UWG), damages in the event of intent or negligence (s.9 UWG), and reimbursement of the costs of the warning letter (Abmahnung) (s.12 para. 1 sentence 2 UWG).
Note: The reimbursement of the costs for a warning letter generally range between €2,000 (approx. US$2,240) and €4,000 (approx. US$4,480).
Fines and penalty provisions only apply in very special cases (e.g. promoting) prize promotions via telephone towards consumers without the prior explicit consent, s.20 UWG or by public notices, sec. 16 UWG.
In case of non-compliance with s.8a RStV and the GWS (ie if the stake for a prize promotion on broadcast media exceeds €0.50 (approx. US$0.56)) this results in an administrative fine of up to €500,000 (approx. US$560,140), depending on the gravity of the offense (s.49 para. 1 sentence 2 no. 5 RStV). First time offenders with only a violation within one promotion may expect a fine of €5.000 (approx. US$5,600).
Breaches of the BDSG constitute an administrative offense punishable with an administrative fine of up to € 300,000 (approx. US$336,000), depending on the gravity of the offense.
Note: On 25 May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union came into force, which substantially increased the administrative fines for data protection breaches with fines of up to €20,000,000 (approx. US$22.4m) or 4% of the total worldwide turnover of the infringer from its preceding business year.
A breach of s.7 or 11 of the HWG constitutes an administrative offense with an administrative fine of up to €50,000 (approx. US$56,000) depending on the gravity of the offense).