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03322 5078053

If top offer is advertised, top offer must also be offered

The erroneously significantly too low mileage in a used car offer on an internet platform (2,040 km instead of 204,032 km) is misleading if it leads to an eye-catching highlighted rating as “TOP offer” due to the algorithm of the platform, even if the traffic immediately recognizes the discrepancy between the purchase price and the allegedly low mileage or can recognize the actual speedometer reading on a posted photo.

This was decided by the Cologne Higher Regional Court. The defendant advertised on the platform a passenger car Golf with a mileage of 2,040 km for 1,100 euros. In fact, the mileage was 204,032 km, which could be seen in a photo attached to the offer. After the defendant had issued the cease-and-desist declaration requested by the plaintiff and had reimbursed the plaintiff’s pre-court costs, both parties declared the legal dispute to be settled.

The Cologne Regional Court ordered the plaintiff to pay the costs on the grounds that there was no deception. The addressed traffic would recognize the obvious input error due to the discrepancy and would be further sufficiently enlightened by the photo of the speedometer. The rating as “TOP offer” does not change this.

The Cologne Higher Regional Court reversed the decision of the Cologne Regional Court and ordered the defendant to pay the costs of the proceedings. In its reasoning, it stated that the plaintiff was entitled to injunctive relief under Sections 3, 5 para. 1 p. 1, p. 2 no. 1, 8 para. 1, paragraph 3 No. 3 UWG had been conceded. The indication of a speedometer reading of only 2,040 km was unfair, because in particular the relationship between the speedometer reading and the purchase price was decisive for the evaluation of the offer by the algorithm of the Internet platform.

Although the offer did not in fact meet the criteria for evaluation as a “TOP offer”, the incorrect kilometer specification in the text led to classification as such a “TOP offer”. Thus, there was an untrue evaluation emphasized by eye-catchers, which was not sufficiently clarified. As long as a consumer does not know how the rating is composed and possibly assumes that other circumstances also play a decisive role, there is a risk of deception within the meaning of Section 5 UWG.

This continues to exist as long as the “TOP offer” seal remains valid. Ultimately, it was irrelevant that the evaluation of his offer as a “TOP offer” had not been carried out by the defendant himself, since the algorithm had in any case accessed and evaluated the data provided by him. A culpable action on the part of the defendant is not a prerequisite for a claim for injunctive relief pursuant to §§ 3 and 4 of the German Civil Code (HGB). § 5 UWG.

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.


03322 5078053