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Renee and Born2be stores accused of misleading customers. UOKiK communiqué

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The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection has filed charges of misleading two popular online stores – Born2be and Renee. According to the office, these single-owner stores used a marketing lure in the form of constant promotions that did not actually offer a price advantage.

Already 77 percent of Polish Internet users use online stores. The most frequently purchased products are clothing and accessories as well as footwear (Report E-commerce in Poland 2022, Gemius Polska). It is these categories that offer popular Born2be and Renee e-shops belonging to Azagroup. President UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny accused this company of misleading consumers by suggesting a limited duration of the promotion, while the goods were offered at promotional prices all the time.

Continuous promotions

The consumer visiting these online stores saw that he could take advantage of the promotional offer and, by entering a special occasional code, make a purchase at a lower price. The codes were distributed along with the communication of special occasional discounts, e.g. “crazy Wednesday”, “birthday week”, “shopping night”, “extra -40% on everything on the occasion of the 11th birthday”.

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According to UOKiK, the buyer could get the impression that only at this particular moment he could buy a dress or shoes at an exceptionally favorable, reduced price, and in fact “he was subjected to manipulation and artificial pressure”because the promotions on the websites of these stores never end. After the period of validity of the promotional campaign ended, a new (or the same) discount code appeared on the website and another promotion offering a similar benefit was launched.

The company faces a penalty of 10%. annual turnover

Also, at the top of the pages there was a clock, which counted down the time until the end of the promotion, which further increased the impression that the special offer was limited in time. After the promotion time ended, a reset occurred and the timer started counting down the next fake special offer. As UOKiK writes, is an example of the so-called dark patternsi.e. practices that use knowledge about user behavior to influence their decisions.

– Suggesting by online stores a limited duration of attractive price promotions, while they are valid all the time, it is an unlawful market practice. Permanent promotions are in fact a marketing way of presenting regular prices that do not offer real price advantages, exert artificial pressure and mislead the buyer. The consumer’s decision-making process should not be subject to any pressure or social engineering activities, says Tomasz Chróstny, President of UOKiK.

“If the allegations against Azagroup are confirmed, the company is subject to a penalty of up to 10 percent. annual turnover” – wrote UOKiK in a communiqué. TVN24 Biznes asked Azagroup for a comment on the UOKiK’s allegations, but we have not received a response until the publication of the information.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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