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eBay classifieds: IDO association warns advertisements under competition law

The IDO association is well known as a mass warning association. At the moment they seem to be on the lookout for new "fields of activity". While the last few months, especially providers on DaWanda.de, have been warned en masse, the wave of warnings now seems to spill over onto the advertising platform “ebay classified ads”.

Why is?

The IT law firm has received a current warning from the IDO Association ("IDO Interest Association for Legal and Financial Consulting of German Online Companies eV, Uhlandstrasse 1, 51379 Leverkusen"), with which the advertisement of a commercial seller on the eBay classifieds advertising platform a complaint is made at https://www.ebay-kleinangebote.de/ because of alleged competition violations.

From the alleged violations complained of, namely

  • Missing cancellation policy
  • Missing sample withdrawal form
  • Missing information about the existence of a warranty right for the goods
  • Missing information about the storage and accessibility of the contract text
  • Missing clickable link to the OS platform
  • Advertising with insured shipping

nothing unusual at first ...

New territory: Association warnings on eBay classifieds

It is unusual, however, that the IDO (in addition to the other “fresh” warning reasons “lack of a data protection declaration” and “telephone number mentioned in the model withdrawal form”) is now expanding its warnings to include eBay classifieds.

This should set the alarm bells ringing for all commercial users of eBay classifieds.

Because the IDO is not breaking new ground here without good reason. The warning potential for eBay classifieds is enormous, because many commercial providers like to use such classifieds "on the side", but are not aware of the fact that distance sales law information obligations (such as in the context of "correct" eBay offers or offers on Amazon or in your own online shop) and the platform is also not technically designed for its fulfillment at all.

On eBay classified ads, there is often a lack of problem awareness on the part of advertisers and a number of technical hurdles, an ideal breeding ground for warning reasons.

On eBay classifieds there is a risk of mass warnings

However, an enormous potential for damage can be seen in the fact that the IDO is now planning to roll up the ebay classifieds platform with warnings (after eBay.de and DaWanda.de). Anyone who knows the IDO knows that it acts very thoroughly, i.e. observes the respective platform systematically for months and warns hundreds, if not thousands of salespeople who work there with weaknesses under competition law.

Experience shows: When the IDO plows a new field, it certainly does not remain with one or individual warning (s). There are quickly a few hundred warned people in the room, the IDO's number of strokes is enormous! The "cuddling time" on eBay classifieds should definitely be over.

"EBay classifieds" - what is it anyway?

The eBay classifieds advertising platform is enjoying steadily growing popularity with commercial providers. Commercial providers can also place free classified ads there, which have an enormous reach and thus appeal to a large number of potential customers.

The problem is that eBay classifieds was not designed for commercial offers in distance selling at all, but rather as a pure advertising platform for private providers.

Commercial providers have to fulfill an abundance of consumer information obligations when goods are offered or even presented to consumers at a distance. If these obligations are not or only partially fulfilled, this can usually be warned by both competitors and competitive associations (e.g. the IDO).

An annoying and above all expensive consequence ...

Problem: No complete legal texts can be stored in the advertisement

Anyone who wants to offer their goods legally secure as a commercial provider in distance selling cannot avoid professional, warning-proof legal texts. Without a correct imprint and "clean" terms and conditions with customer information and cancellation instructions with a sample cancellation form, no commercial provider should start today.

However, due to the technical conditions at eBay classifieds, it is not possible to include the terms and conditions and cancellation policy with a sample cancellation form in the context of the respective classified ad (as is possible with the "real eBay"). This project fails because of the character limit of 4,000 characters per ad.

Active linking to your own website with the legal texts is also not technically possible.

Only an imprint can (and must) be stored in the respective advertisement.

Dilemma between the legal situation and technical restrictions

If the corresponding classified ad of the commercial provider is designed as a so-called "invitatio ad offerendum", i.e. as an invitation to the customer to submit a binding offer on his part, or even as a binding offer (which can be accepted directly by the customer), the customer would have to Providers who provide consumer information at a point in time (i.e. in particular presenting terms and conditions and cancellation policy) at which it is technically not yet possible on eBay classifieds, namely online. Because the law obliges the retailer to provide the necessary consumer information before submitting his contract declaration.

Anyone who uses eBay classifieds in this way makes themselves massively vulnerable and must expect warnings such as those from the IDO at any time.

There is no case without legal texts

Even if the legally secure use of eBay classifieds as a commercial provider poses technical hurdles and no legal texts can be displayed in the advertisement itself, this does not mean that commercial providers can dispense with legal texts.

Rather, a legally secure use of eBay classifieds is only conceivable with a combination of circumnavigating the technical deficits of the platform and the subsequent use of professional legal texts.

The IT law firm offers you professional legal texts for the sale of goods in connection with eBay classifieds from 9.90 euros net per month. Thanks to the innovative update service, you always stay up to date.

What is the solution? Instructions for solving the warning problem for update service clients of the IT law firm available!

The IT law firm provides instructions for action exclusively for update service clients so that entrepreneurs who want to use eBay classifieds as a sales channel can counteract the threat of warnings in the best possible way.

You can find the relevant instructions here.


The IDO has discovered a new playground that offers great warning potential. A large number of warnings on eBay classifieds can be expected in the future.

This is all the more regrettable as eBay classifieds can boast a steadily growing awareness and reach, has almost 30 million page visitors per month and thus represents a very attractive and above all inexpensive advertising and sales channel.

With professional legal texts and a specific design of the advertisements, however, the risk of warnings can be significantly minimized.

Are you looking for legal certainty for your ecommerce business? Then you are right with us. With our security packages, we ensure your permanent legal security.

Of course, we will also advise you at a low flat-rate price if you have already received an IDO warning. Trust in our many years of experience with this opponent from several hundred processed warnings from the IDO Association.

tip: Do you have any questions about the contribution? Feel free to discuss this with us in the entrepreneurial group of the IT law firm on Facebook.