The Berlin Court of Appeal has granted a legal complaint by the Federation of German Consumer Associations (vzbv) against the US messenger service WhatsApp. With this, WhatsApp can no longer provide its terms and conditions on the German website exclusively in English. The Court granted the complaint based on the following considerations:
- Even though everyday English is common among the German population, legal, contractual and commercial English is not and moreover cannot be expected from German consumers.
- As long as these terms and conditions are not available in German, all clauses lack transparency and are thus void.
- The judges also criticized a violation of the telecommunication media act. WhatsApp does not offer a second option to be contacted rapidly (i.e. contact form or telephone number) besides an email address. However, it is legally obliged to do so.