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LG Karlsruhe determines the rights of the online retailer in the event of revocation



LG Karlsruhe determines the rights of the online retailer in the event of revocation


The situation is everyday: a customer buys a product in an online shop, gets it delivered, cancels the purchase and sends the goods back. It is not every day that this customer is a test buyer from a competing e-commerce company. Because the online retailer refuses to pay the shipping costs, the competitor issues a warning and thus initiates a legal dispute. The judges must now check whether there has been a violation of competition law.

The competing company, which made use of its right of withdrawal as a test buyer, saw a breach of competition by the provider. The reason: He did not cover the shipping costs. The Karlsruhe Regional Court ruled as follows: On the one hand, the court sees the fundamental obligation to reimburse the costs of return shipping when exercising the right of revocation as a commercial act within the meaning of competition law that can lead to a violation of competition law. On the other hand, the judges limit the basic responsibility of the online retailer to the extent that a refusal to reimburse the costs of return postage cannot be anti-competitive when it comes to checking the legitimacy of the claims.

Reimbursement of costs may not be rejected across the board

In the opinion of the judges, online retailers cannot be prevented from examining claims against themselves and, if necessary, having them clarified in court, and relying on the case law of the Federal Court of Justice (BGH). The BGH once ruled that the filing of a lawsuit to enforce alleged rights was not to be seen as a violation of the law. The same must then also apply if claims are asserted against the entrepreneur, as long as the rejection of the claims is not made on a blanket basis. The plausibility of the claims must be checked.

Rolf Albrecht, specialist attorney for intellectual property and information technology law at the law firm Volke 2.0, explains: “It remains to be seen whether this view will also be represented by other courts. If in individual cases there are aspects for a refusal to reimburse the return costs, the online retailer can make such a refusal. As soon as this refusal is systematic, however, it could become problematic from the point of view of competition law. “