Fri, Jul. 30, 2004

No Vouchers for Books

JN - Wellington.   The Frankfurt Court of Appeals, Oberlandesgericht, had to decide a case involving online book retailer amazon.de's common practice of issuing rebate vouchers to new customers. In Germany, books must not be sold, under the Buchpreisbindungsgesetz statute, under a certain minimum price. The court held that the issuance of coupons violated the statute by granting customers an unlawful discount.

In a second ruling, the same court was concerned with German flight carrier Lufthansa's Miles&More program. Upon purchase with Lufthansa or one of its cooperation partners, "Miles" are credited to the customer account, granting them a discount on a subsequent purchase. "Miles" earned through the purchase of a book with Lufthansa's cooperation partner buch.de, an online book store, must not be used for the purchase of another book, the court held. However, "Miles" otherwise acquired may be used for a discount on books, because the book retailer is able to collect compensation from the distributor of the "Miles", thus obtaining the full price of the book ultimately.

A press release in German is available on the court's website. See also Kochinke, Offloading New Books and Nebel, Auction Sellers Anticipate Appeals Ruling.


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