Social sharing of Amazon purchases ruled illegal by Germans

Social Media FeatYou buy something online, the next thing that happens is the retailer or marketplace gives you the option to share your purchase on Facebook, twitter, any of the other social media platforms out there or possibly even by email.

Personally I’ve never understood why someone would want to make their purchases public, but it makes a ton of sense for the retailer and some people are naturally unable to stop themselves from sharing everything from their latest meal to the pair of shoes they’ve just purchased. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Or at least there was nothing wrong with sharing purchases on social media until a German court stepped in and ruled it was illegal for Amazon to offer a social media sharing feature.

emailReuters report that sharing via email without prior approval of the recipient is illegal. It is “unsolicited advertising and unreasonable harassment”. Germany’s legal bods have already ruled that Facebook encouraging users to invite their friends to join Facebook is also illegal.

In the Amazon ruling, the case was bought by an Amazon third party retailer against one of their competitors. It’s worth remembering that German retailers habitually sue each other, for what in the UK we’d consider the most frivolous of reasons.

For instance if you omit to put a customer support telephone number in your T’s and C’s another retailer can sue you as it cost’s money for them to provide a support number and the reasoning goes that it’s unfair competition as you can operate more cheaply. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just started up and not sold a thing or if you’re not a direct competitor, they’ll sue you regardless.

What implications this has for the UK we don’t know. We’re also not sure how suing an Amazon third party retailer will get Amazon to change their ways and withdraw the email sharing feature. However if you sell on Amazon Germany and one of your customers decides to share a purchase from you with Amazon’s email sharing feature then technically you’re breaking the law.