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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Over PLN 5 million fine for Vinted - decision of the President of UOKiK

< previous | next > 11.05.2022

Over PLN 5 million fine for Vinted - decision of the President of UOKiK
  • Lack of information about the conditions for unblocking the money from the sale and about how not to pay for "Buyer Protection" – such practices of the owner of the Vinted.pl website were questioned by the President of UOKiK.
  • As a result, consumers may have made bad decisions, losing money and time.
  • The President of UOKiK imposed a fine of over PLN 5.3 million on the Lithuanian company VINTED.

The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection and the European Consumer Centre have received complaints about the Vinted.pl platform owned by the Lithuanian company VINTED UAB. It is a website through which consumers can buy or sell things, mainly second-hand clothes and accessories.

"Platforms such as Vinted are becoming increasingly popular among consumers. They fit in with the idea of sustainable development and care for the environment, which is expressed, for example, in giving a second life to second-hand items. Therefore, it is very important that such websites respect consumer rights and ensure transparency and security of transactions. Unfortunately, in our investigation we found that VINTED, by failing to ensure transparency of information, harmed the collective interests of consumers and may have caused them to suffer financial losses. VINTED's practices raise doubts not only on the Polish market. The company's activities are currently being analysed by the CPC (Consumer Protection Cooperation Network) – a cooperation network of European authorities, which we, as the Office, are also a part of," says Tomasz Chróstny, President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.

In September 2021, the President of UOKiK initiated proceedings against the company and brought two charges against it. These were related to irregularities reported by consumers.

  1. For the sellers – the lack of information about the fact that access to the money earned may involve the need to meet additional conditions related to identity verification. If a consumer failed to produce an identity card, passport, driving licence or a bank statement at the request of the payment service provider, ADYEN, the company could block the consumer's money from the sale. The company did not properly inform about the fact that withdrawal of money could be subject to proof of identity. The consumer would not find out about it neither when reading the platform's terms and conditions nor at the stage of setting up the e-wallet in which money from transactions carried out via Vinted.pl are collected. The website's terms and conditions only indicated that money from the e-wallet could be transferred to your bank account at any time. The information about the need to verify identity came too late – after the transaction had already taken place. It also did not specify what requirements the submitted documents should meet (e.g. scans with some data blackened out or bank statements without a bank logo were rejected).

Excerpt from a complaint: there is nothing in the terms and conditions about the fact that if you do not agree to send a photo of your identity card, the money will be blocked. I should have been informed about this. If I knew about it I would not have sold things this way.

"It is unacceptable that, when they decided to sell something using the Vinted.pl platform and set up the e-wallet, consumers did not have clear, complete and reliable information on the necessity and details of identity verification. If they had known that refusal to produce the requested documents, which contain a lot of detailed and sensitive information, would result in losing the money they had earned, they could have looked for another way to sell the clothes," says Tomasz Chróstny, President of UOKiK.

It is up to consumers to decide whether they want to provide information and their identity documents to the payment processor. The Office does not question the option of verifying consumer data, only the lack of information about it at an earlier stage.

In April 2022, the company abandoned the contested practice, which was key to reducing the fine. Now, VINTED informs consumers about identity verification requirements in the terms and conditions when registering on the website, as well as at the stage of setting up the e-wallet.  The company has also updated the information contained in the Help Centre and launched an additional information campaign on the identity verification procedure. Consumers are also better informed about the requirements that must be met by the submitted documents.

  1. For the buyers – the problem is the lack of information on how to buy an item without paying the "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. Although the company allows transactions without "Buyer Protection", nowhere is it described how to use such a mode. The buyer has to figure it out for himself/herself to click on the "Ask about the item" button and in the course of the conversation with the seller agree on how to transfer the purchased items and pay for them. Clicking on the "Buy Now" button automatically adds a "Buyer Protection" fee of PLN 2.9 plus 5% of the price.

Excerpt from a complaint: I would like to report infringements of consumer rights by VINTED, the owner of the vinted.pl portal, consisting in: (...) Charging for the "protection" of transactions, which is imposed by the portal without information on how and whether you can cancel or refuse to pay for the "transaction protection" service.

"As a result of failing to inform consumers about how to make a transaction without paying for "Buyer Protection", many people may be forced to pay this fee even though they do not need the service because, for example, they have already verified a given seller and have had good experiences with him/her," says Tomasz Chróstny, President of UOKiK.

The decision does not require the trader to allow purchases without additional charges, but it means that it should inform about this possibility if it is available. If, on the other hand, buying with "Buyer Protection" was the only option, the fee for this service should be included in the presented price of the products, but it is not – it is added at the last stage. The company – despite the ongoing proceedings – has not abandoned the contested practice, thus the President of UOKiK ordered it to do so in the decision.

In total, the financial penalties for both practices amount to over PLN 5.3 million (PLN 5,360,447). In addition, the company must inform consumers about the decision and the contested practices on Vinted.pl and Facebook.

The President of UOKiK also informed the President of the Personal Data Protection Office about the doubts related to the requirement to provide scans of identity cards by consumers.

Consumer support:

Phone: 801 440 220 or 22 290 89 16 – consumer helpline
 Email: [SCODE]cG9yYWR5QGRsYWtvbnN1bWVudG93LnBs[ECODE]
Consumer ombudsmen – in your town or county
 European Consumer Centre: 22 55 60 600 – 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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