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Marktplaats.nl / Wild West

1 Introduction

Umecom mediates in sales for third parties, mostly private individuals (1). Umecom sells via the internet, for example by using (own) online catalogues. Products are transferred from these catalogs to various online sales channels, of which Marktplaats.nl is one.

Active on this platform for many years, the time has come to write something about the wild west scenes that seem to be more and more common on this platform. Marktplaats itself does not seem to blame much in this regard, although a somewhat stricter policy would probably benefit many buyers and sellers.

2. Wild West

There seems to be a tendency for a growing group of Marktplaats users to have no problem communicating solely selfishly. As long as there is a self-interest, she will continue to seek contact. If self-interest disappears – for whatever reason – communication stops.

Even to the level that agreements have been made about picking up cases, but no one shows up. When inquiring, they no longer respond or simply say "I already found something else". This disadvantages well-intentioned users on a large scale and therefore requires attention!

3. Fast Trading

Internet has changed a lot in commerce. The speed at which products come online, interested parties can be approached, purchases are communicated and goods are delivered has grown exponentially. Delivery times of days or weeks have been changed to 'same day delivery'.

Buying remotely is easy/fast, accessible and often (more or less) anonymous. Together with the protections provided by the distance buying law, this seems to have caused online buyers to lose some of the decency standards (etiquette, social skills, ..).

4. Used items

For the purchase and sale of used items, the processes are even more complex. Not in the least, because in most cases this takes place between private individuals and for the most part via the platform Marktplaats.nl, about which this piece is written.

When selling used items via Marktplaats.nl, you seem to have ended up in one large, gray area as a seller. We see – in this fast trade – that after publishing popular items, sometimes 3-4 bids come in within an hour. We handle it in accordance with our sales policy .

5. (No) value bid

Our policy applies: if we accept a bid, we want to conclude a transaction with the relevant bidder. Also, if a higher bid is subsequently made. Annoyingly, a bid on Marktplaats.nl in no way means that the interested party wants to buy the item for that amount.

Marktplaats says “an offer is not binding and does not oblige you to buy or sell”. It is mentioned everywhere that making an offer is only an invitation to enter into negotiations. This is why interested parties sometimes place multiple bids at the same time, on comparable items.

6. Speed ​​required

The saying goes 'you have to forge iron when it's hot' ... more than appropriate for trading via Marktplaats.nl: when bids come in, you as a seller must (be able to) materialize quickly. If that doesn't work, chances are the next interested party has already found an alternative.

We can conclude that this is contradictory and that it throws a spanner in the works: interested parties can offer what they want, without consequences. However, if a seller accepts an offer, this does not provide any certainty of realization. At least and in practice, for the seller!

7. Legal / Agreement?

Yes, for now it really seems to be like this: someone can make an offer, but withdraw it at any time. The law says: if an offer is accepted, a purchase agreement has been concluded. In other words: if the seller accepts a bid, he/she is obliged to deliver for that price.

Because the non-commitment here only seems to apply to the buyer, this smells like injustice for the seller: unequal rights, which disadvantage him/her because the necessary speed of action is seriously compromised. Legislation seems to fall short.

8. (Yet) Equal Rights

The legal scholars will deny the injustice and say that the described conclusion of a purchase agreement is binding on both parties. So at odds with Marktplaats's policy, but in that case the Wild West would shift from Marktplaats to court:

After all, if it really is the case that an accepted offer gives a binding agreement, we could go to court about 10 times a month to keep 'buyers' to agreements. We wonder who is waiting for that. As the piece started, here seems to be a task for Marktplaats.

9. What then, is the question?

Very simple: set your own conditions. For some time now, we have had short and strong sales conditions (not too formal, lightly formulated in our sales policy). We accept an offer, but under these conditions. To avoid unpleasant situations, we advise you to do the same (2).

Fortunately, we read in case law that judges increasingly rule in such cases, by applying nuances to the conventional regulation 'bid + acceptance = agreement' (based on traditional trade). As far as we are concerned, this should be recorded more often and better.

(1) You are buying from a private individual.
Umecom acts as an intermediary or only arranges communication and administration for the seller. (2) You are free to use our sales policy or to accept an offer, subject to these terms and conditions and to refer to them.

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