In the future, devices with digital items such as tablets or smartwatches will have to be updated. A law passed by the Bundestag on June 25, 2021 obliges the supplier to regularly update its product. The regulations also apply to purely digital products such as apps, e-books, or streaming services. This should ensure the long-term IT functionality and security of the purchased devices and services.
However, the period to which the update obligation applies is not expressly stated. The law only states the period of time a customer can expect “based on the type and purpose” of the purchased device.
The new regulations create “legal certainty and transparency in the dense jungle of digital products and services,” said the legal and consumer policy spokesman for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Jean Marco Luczak. “So we are making contract law fit for the future.”
Experts rated the effects as far-reaching: “The law is a digital revolution,” said Christina Schreiber, a specialist in IT law and digitalization at commercial law firm Loschelde. “With the new Digital Contract Law, modern regulations for all digital products enter our civil law.” This means that there is now legal certainty for service providers and consumers. At the same time, the obligations of digital product providers are clearly regulated – and no longer dependent on individual decisions.
Schreiber characterized the fact that the new law recognizes personal data as currency as “really revolutionary”. “This means that it will not matter in the future whether consumers pay with data or money.” Both cases will be treated equally in law. “On the one hand, this creates massive control options through consumer protection, and providers have to respond now.”
Consumers are also legally better off if the product is damaged. So far, a warranty claim usually only occurs in the first six months after purchase. However, in the future, the assumption will generally apply for a period of twelve months that the defect actually existed at the time of purchase. (dpa/rs/rw)