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Commercial law consequences in case of an identity theft – latest BGH Decision

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BGH: Unfair commercial act in the case of unauthorised request for payment in the case of identity theft

BGH, Judgement from 20.10.2021 – I ZR 17/21

Facts of the case

The plaintiff is a consumer protection association registered in the list of qualified entities within the meaning of Section 8 (3) no. 4 UWG. The defendant is a debt collection agency. It sent out in June 2018, on behalf of T. G. GmbH & Co. KG (T. ) the demand for payment submitted as Annex K3 for an amount of € 635.07 to  Z. . The reason for the demand is stated there: “Mobile phone contract dated 01.11.2017 (tel. no. +49 )”.

The underlying contract was concluded with T. using the name and a previous address of the witness Z.. No contract however was agreed between Z. herself and T. After two demands for payment sent by the defendant to the witness’s former address had been returned as undeliverable, the defendant determined the witness’s new address and sent the disputed demand for payment to this address. The witness did not respond to this. She lodged an objection against a reminder notice that was subsequently sent to her. Following a corresponding complaint by the witness to the plaintiff, the plaintiff sent the defendant a reminder without success.

The plaintiff applied for an injunction against the defendant, threatening to impose an order for payment. However, Z is not aware of the contractual relationship between T and the stole identity signing a contract with Z contact data.

[… read more about this specific case]

According to the website “” a survey made in Germany in 2019 with regard to the topic of identity theft on the internet illustrates that at the time of the survey, two percent of the respondents stated that they had experienced identity theft on the internet more than three times or had even been a victim of it.

Cases of stolen identities and unpleasant commercial law consequences are not so far from our everyday reality and could have been experience by many people. The key is to act on time, also when you are just suspecting such a case and then get the case analyzed by an expert. We are experts in media and commercial law. Contact us.

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