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T&Cs of e-scooter apps show “in some cases serious legal deficiencies”

E-scooters, e-scooters and bicycles are on every corner and can easily be put into operation via an app. But some of the apps that are needed to use them have serious deficiencies in their terms and conditions.

The consumer centers took a closer look at the terms and conditions in the apps of 54 providers of e-scooters and the like. In the process, they noticed some gross violations of the law in all applications. The worst thing about it is that many users don’t even know which clauses they are agreeing to. They often simply download the apps and quickly create an account, only to be able to speed off just as quickly with the borrowed e-scooter or bike. If something goes wrong during the ride, they can quickly get a rude awakening because of the clauses.

Terms and conditions in e-scooter apps make tenants liable across the board

In the terms and conditions of their apps, providers often try to pass on liability to the tenants of e-scooters and the like in a blanket manner. For example, they demand that the vehicles be returned in the same condition as before use. If an e-scooter gets dirty during the ride, for example because it has rained or was wet, the tenants must then pay for it. Similarly, the T&Cs of e-scooter apps stipulate that tenants are liable for wear and tear.

“In the course of the investigation, we found numerous lump-sum, sometimes massively excessive claims for compensation in the event of damage,” said Anne Neumann at the Consumer Center Saxony-Anhalt. “In addition, high, so-called service fees were due for minor violations – such as a time overrun of the borrowing by a few minutes or wrong parking by only a few meters.”

So, in an emergency, a high claim comes to the tenants of an e-scooter or bicycle, just because the vehicle was dirty during the ride or but parked incorrectly.

Strange claims by providers

Providers also specify exactly how to behave while using an e-scooter in the terms and conditions of their apps. But these sometimes seem very bizarre, as the consumer protectors found out. For example, some providers prohibit carrying a deodorant or nail polish in the bag during the ride. The journey from the drugstore market to home would be thus impossible.

Others require even the smallest paint or impact damage that tenants immediately contact not only the providers themselves, but also the police. Actually, however, according to the consumer protectors, it would be sufficient to report any damage to the provider at the end of the rental period.

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 is a sad record. But numerous other providers were also warned by the consumer protection agencies. Around half of them immediately issued a cease-and-desist declaration, according to the experts. In some cases, lawsuits were even filed.

But not all providers of e-scooters, scooters or bicycles can be prosecuted on the basis of 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, this means that they should read the T&Cs carefully before renting an e-scooter. Due to the length of the texts, many refrain from doing so, but this can prove to be expensive fun in the end.


  • Saxony-Anhalt Consumer Center