Necessity to provide e-mail address in e-commerce

The Swiss Federal Act against Unfair Competition (UCA) requires clear and complete indication of the identity and contact address in e-commerce, including electronic mail (Art. 3 para. 1 lit. s no. 1 UCA). Thus far, the Swiss Commission on Fair Competition (SLK) has considered the use of a simple contact form without providing an e-mail address to be compliant with this legal provision. The Commercial Court of the Canton of has now rejected this practice in its decision HG17014-O: whoever uses only a contact form without e-mail address does not fulfil the aforementioned legal requirements. The Federal Supreme Court has not yet ruled on this matter.

In its decision dated 11 March 11 2020 concerning the online marketplace Viagogo, the Commercial Court of the Canton of Zurich had the opportunity to clarify the identity requirements in e-commerce. Regarding Art. 3 para. 1 lit. s no. 1 UCA the Commercial Court held that the provision intended to achieve transparency in e-commerce which can only mean the naming of a proper e-mail address as in the world of electronic communication there are otherwise only usernames (reference being made to Twitter, Skype, etc.). It is therefore "clear and unquestionable" that the provision requires the indication of an e-mail address. The Commercial Court of the Canton of Zurich further stated that the option of a contact form (without an e-mail address) is not sufficient. Finally, these identity specifications, including the e-mail address, must be placed directly and easily visible on the homepage - typically under "Imprint", "Home" or "About us".

Is your website UCA compliant? Our experts are happy to assist you and make your website as well as your onlineshop legally fit for e-commerce.

July 2020 | Authors: Dr. Jonatan Baier, Romina Lauper

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