[Berlin, GERMANY] Contracts between suppliers and bidders at Internet
auctions are legally valid. This decision was made by the second civil court
of appeal of the Hamm provincial court in an appeal on December 14, 2000.
The lawsuit centered on a car dealer who had used the ricardo.de platform to
put a VW Passat up for auction. The car was auctioned off well under the
list price. When the car dealer subsequently refused to deliver the new car,
the buyer took him to court. The action was dismissed in the first court
case by the district court of Munster. In the second court case (find out
more about it here), the buyer was found to be in the right.
Matthias Schmidt-Pfitzner, managing director of ricardo.de AG, said,
“The Hamm court of appeal has ruled that online auctions lead to binding
bills of sale. We were counting on this decision in favor of Internet
auctions. Naturally, we welcome the judgment. Through it, the court has
provided important clarification. When a bid has been accepted, the
buyer can now be sure that he is legally entitled to the auctioned
“Most of our members stick to the rules. The judgment that has just been
passed confirms them in this,” said a speaker for the management. Due to
the fundamental importance of the case, the Hamm court of appeal has
allowed an appeal to the German Federal Supreme Court. It remains to be
seen whether the defendant will take this path or not.