Law firm Schmidt
Many consumers contacted ECC Austria because they received warning letters from an alleged law firm called Jörg Schmidt, regarding alleged copyright infringements and the request to submit a declaration of discontinuation. The firm claimed to be situated at Kurfürstendamm 234, 10719 Berlin in Germany. Their client would be abbywinters.com BV from the Netherlands.
Those writings were send via fax to consumers and companies with an answer deadline for the declaration until the 23 September 2016.
The bar association Berlin stated that the sender is not a law firm. Not one of the persons mentioned in the letter header was a licensed lawyer. The Austrian federal criminal police office advises not to react in any way to the letters and not to pay them.
The Austrian initiative Watchlist-Internet researched that
- no lawyer Jörg Schmidt with a firm at Kurfürstendam 234 in 10719 Berlin is registered in Germany.
- the domain of the law firm Schmidt - kanzlei-schmidt-berlin.de - was only registered on 13 September 2016. On their website, they claim that lawyer Schmidt had already worked for several big German law firms and operates his own since 2014.
- photos uploaded on the website were taken from other websites.
The Chamber of Commerce Burgenland warns against the fraud and confirms that mainly companies whose fax number is available in phone books or online were affected.
Tips of the European Consumer Centre
- As this is an obvious fraud, you don't have to react or pay at all.
- You can file a claim at the public prosecution Berlin.
- In case you already paid, file a claim at the next police station.