An Austrian court has ordered eBay to pay €16,000 in damages to a buyer who paid for gold they never received. The Austrian buyer paid for a kilo of gold from German company and ex-PowerSeller ML Agentur, which has since gone bankrupt. According to German watchdog site Falle-Internet.de, questions had already been raised in eBay.de’s trust and safety forum about excessively long delivery times and non-availability of advertised items with this seller, before this transaction took place.
According to Falle-Internet, eBay argued that their staff had been in regular contact with the seller, that they were unaware of any particular risks associated with the transactions, and that there was no justification for their withdrawing of PowerSeller status or other sanctions. They argued that it was the buyer’s responsibility to investigate the seller before purchase.
Falle-Internet concludes: “the court’s ruling sets out in pleasing clarity that eBay is not ‘only a venue'”. It’s a shame it takes cases like this to establish that.