German Court Favours Tarot Reader

January 14th, 2011 § 0 comments

Yesterday, Germany’s highest court ruled in favour of a Tarot reader whose dissatisfied customer refused to pay his bill.

The customer, a man in his mid-40s, had already paid the reader 35,000 euros (about $45,000) for reading services and life-coaching. Somewhere along the line, he decided he didn’t trust her anymore and refused to pay the outstanding balance of 6,700 euros.

Lower courts threw out the case last year, claiming that since magic didn’t exist, the Tarot reader couldn’t have a contract with her client. On appeal however, the High Court disagreed.

Fortune-telling, provable or not, could be subject to a binding contract. The judges determined that two parties are free to enter an agreement about something that is ‘irrational’. What’s not allowed is exploitation and fraud.

If the customer knew from the start that there was no rational evidence that Tarot cards worked, he was obligated to pay his bill.

So the case is returning to the lower courts to decide whether or not there was a contract. The customer is expected to argue that there was not.

Upset that his girlfriend had just left him and feeling that there was no meaning in his life, he’s likely to argue that he was ‘gullible’, and that any contract he and the reader had was void.

The High Court warned though, that such an argument will be tough to make. As they correctly point out, most people who go to fortune-tellers are distressed about their life. How is he different?

According to the court, the contract would only be determined void if the customer was unusually inexperienced, psychologically weak or credulous.

From my personal perspective as a Tarot reader, I see this as a damp victory.

It’s great that the reader’s right to enter into a binding contract with her client was recognized. It’s not so great that Tarot reading was deemed ‘irrational’.

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