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January 9, 2009

Euro ruling on no-call websites

Telephone contact a must for customer communication

By Jason Stamper

Businesses providing e-commerce services can no longer just provide customers with a company contact email address or online enquiry form, a latest European ruling has found.

As a result of the recent ruling, any e-commerce provider who dispenses with the telephone as its primary means of contact may rely on a combination of emails and online enquiry forms in order to manage its communication with its customers.

But they must also ensure that it is in a position to also offer telephone, fax, or a manned enquiry desk as an additional, non-electronic means of communication to its customers if requested.

In an alert produced by Morrison & Foerster, the lawyers said a recent case lodged against an online insurance company has shed some much-needed light on the interpretation of the E-Commerce Directive.

This is a legislation that applies to virtually every commercial website operator.

The findings show that even where an e-commerce operator is satisfied that it can maintain very high levels of service availability, both on its website and via the communication channels it offers to its customers through its website, it is still advisable to retain the traditional channels of telephone or fax.

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