Right to updates and the obligation to be transparent: New rules for online trading

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There are new reporting obligations on online marketplaces. The federal government is also planning to make software updates mandatory.

Online marketplaces in Germany will soon have to display information about ranking factors. Software providers are also being forced to offer necessary updates. That goes out two bills published by the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection. The federal government is thus implementing several new EU regulations.

Information on ranking factors

Because ranking can influence consumer decisions, buyers need to know about the main parameters, according to the draft. The platforms should also provide information about the weighting of the most important parameters compared to others.

In addition, online retailers must display information on the providers involved when comparing offers. If you personalize a price automatically, there must also be a reference to this.

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The industry association Bitkom called the new notification obligations as “partly impractical and questionable in their feasibility.” Instead, he calls for more quality instead of quantity for information.

Duty for updates

In the future, providers of digital products must also ensure that updates required for functionality and security are made available and that consumers are informed about them. If users fail to install an update, the software provider is then no longer responsible for a possible product defect.

On this topic, Bitkom praises the goal of increasing the security of devices, but calls for clear guidelines on the duration of the update obligation. The draft law does not specify how long software providers must ensure the functionality of their products.

Applications that are offered under a free license and that do not do business with user data are excluded. However, the new rules also apply to free software if users pay with their data instead.

The law is due to come into force on May 28th. The Bundesrat and Bundestag still have to agree.

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