It is not permissible to send marketing e-mails to either corporate or individual subscribers without their prior explicit consent.
Double opt-in is not explicitly legally required, but in practice it is the usual and recommended way for marketers to collect a valid consent – both in B2B and B2C context.
According to Section 7(3) of the Unfair Competition Act no prior consent is needed if:
- the entrepreneur has obtained from the customer the latter’s electronic mail address in connection with the sale of goods or services;
- the entrepreneur uses the address for direct advertising of his own similar goods or services;
- the customer has not objected to this use; and
- the customer has been clearly and unequivocally advised, when the address is recorded and each time it is used, that he can object to such use at any time, without costs arising by virtue thereof, other than transmission costs pursuant to the basic rates.
It is illegal to send direct marketing by email where the identity of the sender, on whose behalf the communication is transmitted, is concealed or kept secret, or where there is no valid address to which the recipient can opt-out from receiving such messages.