By: Rechtsanwalt (Attorney) Carsten Lexa, LL.M.
The Internet is an “essential” part of life, the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe (Germany) ruled on Thursday, January 24th 2013. As a result, people have the right to claim compensation from service providers if their Internet access is disrupted.
The case was brought to the court by a man who was unable to use his DSL connection, which also offered a telephone and fax line, for two months from late 2008 to early 2009.
The man had already received compensation for the cost of having to use a mobile phone. But he also wanted to be compensated for not being able to use the Internet. According to him, he suffered from the loss of something “essential”, and that “something essential” was the ability to use the internet as such. Under German law the loss of use of essential material items can be compensated.
“The Internet plays a very important role today and affects the private life of an individual in very decisive ways.” a court spokeswoman told Germany’s ARD television. According to the court, the loss of use of the Internet is comparable to the loss of use of a car.
But high sums cannot be expected as compensation based on this ruling. For example if a car is damaged und must be repaired in a garage, the car owner can demand from the liable party approximately 40% of the cost for a rental car for the time period of the downtime. According to the court, such percentage of the monthly cost for the Internet connection must be taken as a basis for compensation if the Internet access is disrupted.
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