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"Usury" judgment on Ebay is allowed


The BGH had to deal with the purchase of four hinge bolt clamps for less than 20 euros. However, it was permissible for the buyer to get upset about the high shipping costs.

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Ebay comments: Is "usury" an inadmissible abusive criticism?


Monika Skolimowska / dpa

The four hinge bolt clamps cost 19.26 euros, 4.90 euros of which was for shipping.

After the deal on the Ebay auction platform, the buyer left a review: »Goods, shipping costs are exorbitant!« Rightly so, as the Federal Court of Justice ruled on Wednesday.

If you are angry, you can formulate your criticism – legally secured – with harsh words and exaggerated on Ebay.

However, the freedom of expression in Ebay reviews is not unlimited.

The eighth civil senate, chaired by judge Rhona Fetzer, drew the line in the "abusive criticism" that intended to disparage the seller.

Value judgments are protected by the Basic Law: "Even exaggerated, unfair or even abusive criticism does not in itself make a statement an insult." (Az. VIII ZR 319/20)

Criticize, don't belittle

In the general terms and conditions (GTC) of Ebay it says on the subject of ratings: »Users are obliged to provide only truthful information in the ratings submitted.

The ratings submitted by users must be factual and may not contain any abusive criticism.« This is the term used for statements that are not about the issue at hand, but rather that the disparagement of the opponent is in the foreground.

The question now was: How far does freedom of expression extend when evaluating sales, how exactly is objectivity defined and what is considered to be harmful to business?

The legal battle had lasted more than two years.

The district court in Weiden in der Oberpfalz had agreed with the buyer, but the district court in Weiden ruled in the appeal proceedings for the seller: It was an exaggerated assessment with no factual reference.

After all, an objective reader cannot see why the shipping costs should be »usurious«.

The suing company, Schlauchland GmbH, wanted the »usury« comment to be deleted and had pointed out that negative ratings on Ebay caused considerable damage.

The company's lawyer also explained that customers repeatedly threatened intentionally negative comments in order to enforce price reductions or the return of goods after the cancellation period had expired.

However, this was not enough for the federal judges to justify removing the controversial comment on Ebay.


Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2022-09-28

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