The Consumer Federation (vzbv) has won a legal victory over Vodafone. According to a ruling of the Regional Court of Dusseldorf today 19 July (Ref. 38 O 45/13) may no longer apply its Internet Rate “redM” with the term “unlimited surfing” Vodafone while the company excludes the small print peer-to-peer applications. Such applications include instant messaging services such as Skype or WhatsApp, depending on definition, were available in the said tariff at an extra cost of 9.95 euros a month. This scheme was on the website of Vodafone after several clicks visible to footnotes at the bottom of the screen for the customer.
vzbv had argued that the consumer on conclusion of an Internet contract which basically went out to use the connection for all products and services, including instant messaging or peer-to-peer applications. Therefore, explicit and clear indications of such restrictions are necessary. The Landgericht Dusseldorf joined this opinion, evaluated the advertising is misleading and ordered the company to stop this.
In a survey conducted by the network operators vzbv had noted in a project that they limit such applications to access via mobile almost exclusively. Only one tariff refrained. From the perspective of the vzbv is a violation of net neutrality. vzbv Board Gerd Billen warned of a two-class society in the Internet and called on the federal government, to enshrine net neutrality law to end the discrimination against consumers. (uma)