Court rulings on rating a company

Even if your contract has a “private and confidentiality” (P&C) clause inserted, it is possible to rate and counter-rate your customer with whom you have done business with. During the process of entering the particulars of the biz, you can tick a box to keep the fixture P&C to the other website viewers and subsequently only the rating is published. So the ordinary website visitor cannot see by whom and not from whom a company got rated.

Nevertheless the Company and recipient of a rating can see the opinions of his business partner via the ratings and comments to the ratings received on the platform.

Under german law (and with reference to the highest courts – the federal constitutional court ruling, namely Az. 1 BvR 3487/14) the owner of a business has to accept that a leading business partner leaves a remark on a platform in the internet (be it positive or negative):

A boundary of violation of personality has only been crossed if the harm is out of proportion to spreading the truth.

Considering this ruling, a few obstacles however have to be foreseen:

  • A general (negative) remark to the company’s performance is not permitted.
  • The remark has to be reflecting the concluded business in point of time and type and particulars of business.
  • If a negative remark intents to refer to a breach of laws or contracts they have to be proportional to the facts. That means if the interpretation of the contract or laws are ambiguous enough and not clear, the ambiguity has to be highlighted.

The Maritime Trust Platform (MTP) has created a publicly available information database which is incorporating the above described legal fundamentals through their terms and conditions and functionality of the website.

MTP is not automatically reviewing all posts. Only if a complaint is brought forward a case will be checked and according to our terms and conditions the user will be requested to bring forward enough evidence to sustain his rating/post and we might review a case. Here we expressly obey to the german laws and the “noctice-and-take-down-principle”, namely federal constitutional court ruling of 25.10.2011 – VI ZR 93/10 in conjunction with stipulated laws of the “Telemedien Gesetz“.

The website is hosted in Germany and the company is German, too. Therefore we assume underlying German laws and rulings. If you have any questions, let us know.