The consumer advice centers took a closer look at the terms and conditions in the apps of 54 providers of e-scooters and the like. In doing so, they came across some gross violations of the law in all applications. The bad thing is that many users do not even know which clauses they agree to. They often simply download the apps, quickly create an account, only to be able to jet off just as quickly with the rented e-scooter or bike. If something goes wrong during the trip, the clauses can quickly cause a rude awakening.
They are on every corner and can be easily put into operation via app – e-scooters, e-scooters and bicycles. But some of the apps that you need to use them have serious deficiencies in the terms and conditions.
General terms and conditions in e-scooter apps make tenants liable across the board
In the terms and conditions of their apps, the providers often try to pass on the liability to the renters of e-scooters and the like. For example, they require the vehicles to be returned in the same condition as before use. If an e-scooter gets dirty while driving, for example because it rained or was wet, the renters have to pay for it. The terms and conditions of the e-scooter apps also stipulate that renters are liable for wear and tear.
“As part of the investigation, we found numerous flat-rate, sometimes massively excessive claims for damages in the event of damage,” says Anne Neumann at the consumer advice center in Saxony-Anhalt. “In addition, high, so-called service fees were due for minor violations – such as exceeding the time of the rental by a few minutes or parking incorrectly by only a few meters.”
In an emergency, renters of an e-scooter or bicycle face a high demand simply because the vehicle was parked dirty or incorrectly while driving.
Also read: The best street-legal e-scooters in Germany
Strange demands of the providers
The providers also specify behavior during use of an e-scooter in the terms and conditions of their apps. But these sometimes seem very bizarre, as the consumer advocates found out. For example, some providers forbid you to carry deodorant or nail polish in your pocket when driving. The trip home from the drugstore would thus be impossible.
Others require tenants to immediately contact not only the providers themselves, but also the police, even in the event of the smallest damage to the paintwork or impact. Actually, according to the consumer advocates, it would be enough to report any damage to the provider when the rental ended.
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Not all e-scooter providers can be prosecuted for invalid terms and conditions
The experts found up to 63 invalid clauses within the terms and conditions of an app from just one provider. That’s a sad record. But numerous other providers were also warned by consumer advocates. According to the experts, around half of them immediately issued a cease-and-desist declaration. Sometimes there were even complaints.
But not all providers of e-scooters, scooters or bicycles can be prosecuted due to their questionable and sometimes illegal terms and conditions in the apps. Some have since disappeared from the market, others are based abroad, which makes communication difficult.
For users of the apps, it means that they should read the terms and conditions carefully before renting an e-scooter. Due to the length of the texts, many people do without them, which can turn out to be expensive fun in the end.