RealTime IT News

German Internet Auctioneers Establish Collective Lobby

A group of German online auctioneers have joined to form an association whose goal will be to standardize the sector's legal situation.

Online auction houses Andsold, Atrada, Itrade, Offerto, QXL, Primus-Auktion, Ricardo and Versteigern.de have founded Arbeitskreis Online-Auktionen (AOA), which will create a standard for public relations and legal clarification for its members.

The need for such an association was demonstrated by the recent array of legal proceedings against the sites over the past few months, which have brought a list of opaque questions to light.

The intention of the group is said to be to "support law-giving institutions on a national and an European level, and provide the utmost transparency possible," according to the association in its first statement.

Matthias Quaritsch, spokesperson of ricardo.de, explained to germany.internet.com that the "legal situation of online auctions in Germany is simply not uniform."

In early 1999 for example, a temporary injunction was served against the sale of new goods in online auctions. While this ruling was later thrown out, judges realized that clarification is still needed in this matter. Lately a regional court in Munster has even questioned whether purchase contracts even exist at all in a means that could cover online auctions.

The second step which the association plans is to agree on publicly accepted, binding quality standards for AOA companies. The quality of the service, protection of data privacy, security of transactions, shipping and customer service are among the points on the agenda.