Feedbacks and comments in online trading platforms, such as Ebay, have a huge affect on the purchase decision of other customers. Therefore, it is important for sellers that after a transaction, they and their products are positively rated by buyers. But it is not uncommon for user ratings to be far from objectivity. Unfair opinions and untrue factual claims can permanently damage the reputation of the seller. The following study deals with the question whether and how sellers can legally defend themselves against negative comments due to German and Turkish civil law. For that purpose, the Ebay’s feedback system is first presented (in Part II) and then part III discusses Ebay’s measures to protect sellers from unfair comments. In addition (in Part IV.A), the civil law claims against the author of the negative comment are to be examined separately according to contractual claims, tort and competition law claims. Subsequently, in Part IV.B the claims against Ebay are briefly explained. Part V examines the topic from the point of view of Turkish Law. Finally Part VI concludes the study with a brief summary of the research. The study comes to the conclusion that because of the abuse of the Ebay feedback system, the seller may claim against both the author of the negative comment and Ebay. However the second way is not advisable since Ebay has limited its obligation to control the content of comments by its user agreement in a permissible manner. The author of the negative comment may be liable not only for the tort of defamation but also for breach of contractual obligations. It is because that the Feedback Policy of the portal operator (Ebay), wherein buyers are prohibited from leaving unlawful comments for sellers, should be considered as a secondary obligation of the contract of sale between the transaction parties. Posting fake and negative comments may furthermore constitute an unfair competition. However, to claim for unfair competition under German Law, the negative comment must be given purposefully to gain an unfair advantage against a competitor or to injure competitor. On the other hand, in order to assume an infringement, a distinction should be made as to whether the comment given is a factual claim or a value judgment. While value judgments up to the limit of the abusive criticism and insult by the freedom of opinion from Art. 5 GG and Art. 26 of the Turkish Constitution are protected in principle; false factual claims are generally not protected by the German and Turkish Law.
Negative Comments, Online Trading, Online Auction, Unfair Competition, Ebay/gittigidiyor