Polish competition watchdog accuses Amazon EU of misleading consumers

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics center in Lauwin-Planque, northern France, November 15, 2022. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo/File Photo

GDANSK (Reuters) -Poland's competition watchdog has accused e-commerce firm Amazon's European unit of misleading sales and delivery practices, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) said on Wednesday.

The office said consumers on Amazon's Polish website were misled as to the moment a sales contract is concluded, product availability, delivery times and consumer rights, which if proven could result in a penalty for Amazon EU of up to 10% of its turnover.

Amazon.pl representatives were not immediately available for comment.

According a statement published by UOKiK Amazon EU treated orders it received through the Amazon.pl website as non-binding until the moment the company had confirmed actual shipment, leaving it the option to cancel them.

Using phrases such as "buy now" and "proceed to checkout" can suggest that consumers are making a purchase and that the transaction takes place immediately once payment is made, UOKiK said.

"If consumers knew that placing an order was not a purchase, and that product availability and delivery times are only estimates, they might not use the services of this company," head of UOKiK Tomasz Chrostny said.

The office noted that these terms were spelled out on the Amazon.pl website, but their legibility and placement made them difficult to read by consumers.

According to the office, delivery guarantee terms with the option to receive a refund in case of delay were not easily available to consumers.

UOKiK said it had launched an inquiry into the practices in Sept. 2021 following consumer complaints.

(Reporting by Karol Badohal; editing by Jason Neely)

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