UOKiK fined Vinted over 5.3 million PLN

  • As a result, consumers could make unfavorable decisions for themselves, wasting money and time.
  • The President of the UOKiK imposed a fine of more than 5.3 million PLN on the Lithuanian company VINTED.
  • The Competition and Consumer Protection Office and the European Consumer Center have received complaints about the Vinted.pl platform belonging to the Lithuanian company VINTED UAB. It is a service through which consumers can buy or sell things, mainly second-hand clothes and accessories.

– Platforms like Vinted are becoming increasingly popular with consumers. They are part of the idea of ​​sustainable development and respect for the environment, which is expressed, among other things, in giving a second life to second-hand objects. Therefore, it is very important that these websites respect the rights of consumers and guarantee the transparency and security of transactions. Unfortunately, in the procedure conducted, we found that VINTED, due to the lack of transparent information, was detrimental to the collective interests of consumers and could have contributed to their suffering financial losses. Doubts about VINTED’s practices do not only arise on the Polish market. The company’s activities are currently being analyzed by the CPC (Consumer Protection Cooperation Network) – a cooperation network of European authorities, in which we also participate as an Office – says Tomasz Chróstny, President of the Competition Office and consumer protection.

In September 2021, the president of the UOKiK filed a lawsuit against the company and filed two counts against it. They were linked to irregularities reported by consumers.

Payment issues

In the case of sellers – no information indicating that access to earned money can be associated with the need to fulfill additional conditions related to identity verification. If the consumer, at the request of the payment provider – the company ADYEN – had not provided an identity card, passport, driving license or bank statement, the company could have blocked the money from the sale . The company has not properly informed that payment of funds may depend on confirmation of identity. The consumer did not learn about it either from the regulations of the platform or at the stage of creating an electronic wallet in which funds from transactions carried out on Vinted.pl are collected. The website rules only stated that money from the e-wallet could be transferred to your bank account at any time. The message about the need to verify identity came too late – after the transaction was concluded. There were also no details about the requirements that the submitted documents had to meet (for example, scans with some data in black or statements without the bank logo were rejected).
Excerpt from the application: [w] in the regulations, there is nothing to say that if you do not agree to send a photo of your identity card, your funds will be blocked. I should have known, if I had such knowledge, I wouldn’t sell things that way.

– It is unacceptable that when consumers decided to sell on the Vinted.pl platform and set up an electronic wallet, they did not have clear, complete and reliable information about the need and details of identity verification. If they knew that refusing to disclose the requested documents, containing a lot of detailed and sensitive information, would lead to the loss of the money earned, they could look for another opportunity to sell clothes – says Tomasz Chróstny, President of the Office competition and consumer protection.

It is up to the consumers to decide whether or not they wish to transmit their information and identity documents to the payment processor. The Office does not question the possibility of verifying consumer data, but only the lack of information about them at an earlier stage.

In April 2022, the company abandoned the offending practice, which was essential to reduce the fine. From now on, VINTED informs consumers about the obligations related to identity verification in the regulations when registering on the site, as well as at the stage of setting up an electronic wallet. The company also updated the information in the help center and launched an additional information campaign regarding the identity verification procedure. Consumers are also better informed of the guidelines that the documents submitted must meet.

In the case of buyers – the problem is the lack of information on the method of purchase without paying the “Buyer Protection” fee. It consists of a refund if the purchased item is not shipped or arrives damaged, as well as guaranteeing secure payment. Although the company allows transactions without “Buyer Protection”, nowhere is it described how to use such a procedure. The buyer must guess himself to click on the “Request item” button and during the conversation with the seller to agree on the method of delivery of the purchased items and their payment. On the other hand, clicking on the “Buy now” button is automatically associated with the “Buyer Protection” fee, which amounts to 2.9 PLN plus 5%. prices.
Fragment of the complaint: I report a violation of consumer rights by the company VINTED, owner of the portal vinted.pl, consisting of: (…) charging fees for “protection” of transactions which are imposed by the portal without information on how and if they can be canceled or refused to purchase “transaction protection” services.

– Due to not informing consumers on how to complete a transaction without paying for “Buyer Protection”, many people may have to pay these fees, although they do not need of the service, because, for example, they have already verified a given seller and have good experiences with him – says Tomasz Chróstny, President of the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection.

Buy with Buyer Protection

The decision does not prejudge that the trader must authorize the purchase without additional costs, but that he must provide information on such an option, if it is foreseen. If, on the other hand, a purchase with “Buyer Protection” was the only option, the fees for this service should be included in the presented price of the products, and this is not the case – they are added to the last step. The company – despite the ongoing proceedings – has not renounced the practice in question, which is why the President of the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection ordered its abandonment in the decision.

The total financial penalties for the two practices amount to more than PLN 5.3 million (PLN 5,360,447). In addition, the company must inform consumers about the decision rendered and the disputed practices on Vinted.pl and on Facebook.

The president of the UOKiK also informed the president of the Personal Data Protection Office of the doubts related to consumer demand for ID card scans.

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