On May 15, 2009, the German Federal Council adopted the “Act against unsolicited commercial phone calls and improvement of consumer protection.”  According to the Act, violations of the existing prohibition on unsolicited commercial phone calls can now be sanctioned with a fine up to € 50,000.

In addition, the Act clarifies that a commercial phone call is only lawful if the recipient has given his or her prior explicit consent to receive the call.  The provision is intended to prevent the caller’s reliance on consent that may have been given by the recipient in a totally different context or after the call was placed.  Further, those placing commercial phone calls may not suppress their phone number or identity.  Violations of this prohibition may be sanctioned with a fine of up to € 10,000.  The Act will enter into force after publication in the official federal gazette.