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'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, 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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