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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Unclear terms and conditions of sale at Vinted.pl - allegations put forth by the President of UOKiK

< previous | next > 18.10.2021

Unclear terms and conditions of sale at Vinted.pl - allegations put forth by the President of UOKiK
  • The President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny initiated proceedings against VINTED, the Lithuanian company running a website that enables users to sell clothes online.
  • The allegations concern the lack of important information that would allow consumers to avoid financially adverse decisions.
  • The entrepreneur faces a penalty of up to 10 per cent of the annual turnover.

VINTED UAB, a Vilnius-based company, runs a website Vinted.pl, where consumers can put items (mainly clothes and accessories) up for sale and buy them.  The Office received complaints about, among other things, blocking money from sales if the consumer does not provide data such as a photo of their ID card or bank statement to verify their identity.

Sample complaint: I created an account on the sales platform Vinted.pl. At some point, the funds accumulated in the Vinted wallet for sold items were blocked. I was informed by Vinted that because of the payment, I need to confirm my identity by sending a scan of my ID card, passport or driving licence. (...) I feel cheated and robbed because if such a document is required, it should have already been required at the stage of creating an account and not after selling an item. As a result, I have PLN 307, but my money was blocked and I cannot withdraw it.

'First and foremost, the allegations against Vinted concern the lack of clear and unambiguous information provided at the right time, i.e. at the latest before deciding to carry out the first transaction through the website. If consumers knew that at some point, the company could prevent them from withdrawing money if they do not provide a photo of their ID cards or bank statements, i.e. sensitive information, they might not decide to sell things via Vinted, ' says Tomasz Chróstny, the President of UOKiK.

According to the terms and conditions, the money from the sale accumulated in the seller's e-wallet can be transferred to the seller's personal bank account at any time without any fees. The terms and conditions do not contain any information that funds can be blocked, nor do they address the issue of identity verification. You can find out more - although not everything - in the Privacy Policy, which is not part of the agreement and is not a document suitable for determining the terms and conditions of use of the website, including the payment of funds from the sale. It says that if "the amount of deposit or withdrawal reaches a certain threshold", the payment service provider, i.e. the Dutch company ADYEN, may ask for a copy of passport, identity card or driving licence and, at the "stage of additional verification", for a photo/screen shot of a bank statement with a list of transactions from one month. However, there is no information specifying the threshold at which this request occurs or additional circumstances when such a verification is carried out or information indicating that failure to provide the requested documents will result in the blocking of access to funds accumulated in the e-wallet.

Sample complaint: After all, it's just a purchase and sale web application, (...) they demand such data after signing the agreement and blocking funds. It's clear that if they demanded such data at the stage of creating an account, 90% of people wouldn't agree to it. (...) The Terms and Conditions do not stipulate that the withdrawal of funds requires the provision of any additional certificates, attestations or verifications. In fear of losing their money, many consumers are forced to disclose their data, while those who are unwilling to "sell" their data do not receive their money.

The second allegation of the President of UOKiK against VINTED also concerns the lack of clear and legible information - this time for consumers buying items through the website. It is about the possibility and method of carrying out a transaction without paying a Buyer Protection fee. The fee guarantees that the buyer will get a refund if the item purchased is not shipped or is defective. It also guarantees a secure payment without sharing personal information with the seller. The fee for such a protection is PLN 2.90 plus 5 per cent of the price paid for the item purchased. Clicking the "Buy now" button is tantamount to buying items with the Buyer Protection option, which is set by default. In such a case, the fee is automatically charged and cannot be waived. To avoid such a situation, it is necessary to click the "Ask for an item" button before making the purchase and determine payment terms and shipping details individually with the seller. However, this procedure is neither described in the terms and conditions nor intuitive.

'VINTED fails to provide consumers with timely, clear and unambiguous information on the possibility of making a purchase without paying the Buyer Protection fee. As a result, they may not realise that they can buy items without paying this amount. If they had known that, for example, after having already had a good experience with a given seller, they might not have decided to pay extra for this service,' says Tomasz Chróstny, the President of UOKiK.

For practices that violate the collective interests of consumers, there is a penalty of up to 10 per cent of the annual turnover generated by the entrepreneur. It is also of great importance to properly secure data collected from consumers - the verification of this obligation lies within the competence of the President of the Personal Data Protection Office whom the President of UOKiK has already notified of the practices used by this entrepreneur and asked to examine the case on the basis of the provisions of the GDPR.

Consumer assistance:

Tel. 801 440 220 or 22 290 89 16 - consumer hotline
 Email: [SCODE]cG9yYWR5QGRsYWtvbnN1bWVudG93LnBs[ECODE]
Consumer ombudsmen - in your town or county
European Consumer Centre: 22 55 60 600, [SCODE]RUNDTkVULVBMQGVjLmV1cm9wYS5ldQ==[ECODE] -for cross-border issues

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa, Poland
Phone +48 695 902 088, +48 22 55 60 246
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

Attached files

 

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