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UOKiK: Duka International accused of violating collective consumer interests; there is a penalty of up to 10%. turnover

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The President of UOKiK has accused Duka International of violating collective consumer interests, for which there is a fine of up to 10 percent of turnover, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection announced on Wednesday. According to the Office’s communication, the online store duka.com automatically adds unordered products to the buyer’s basket. Returning an unwanted purchase means that consumers have to spend time and pay for postage.

“President UOKiK accused Duka International of violating collective consumer interests, which is punishable by a fine of up to 10 percent. – informed the Office. Duka is a company selling household goods and interior design elements in brick-and-mortar stores and through the duka.com e-shop.

Products automatically added to the cart

The communiqué indicated that the President of the Office charged Duka with violating collective consumer interests. “Products could be automatically added to the baskets of people using the duka.com online store without their prior consent. It was the buyers who, in order to avoid buying unwanted goods, had to remove them” – it was explained.

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According to UOKiK, consumers may not have noticed an additional item when placing an order and made a purchase that they had not planned. If they received an unwanted product in the shipment, they could accept the situation or devote their time and bear the shipping costs to return it, added the Office.

The President of UOKiK, Tomasz Chróstny, quoted in the communication, pointed out that the entrepreneur cannot make decisions for consumers or try to influence their orders by automatically adding products to the basket in the online store. “This may lead to the purchase of an unwanted article, the return of which will cause inconvenience for consumers and will require additional shipping costs” – he pointed out.

The so-called practice of dark patterns

The practice used by duka.com may constitute the so-called dark patterns, i.e. the unfair use of knowledge about consumer behavior on the Internet to influence their purchasing decisions.

Experts of the Office advise that when buying online, watch out for manipulations by dishonest e-shops. It’s about, among others o adding a product to the basket, e.g. a thematically related one, at a promotional price or an insurance service, as well as for additional, unannounced fees appearing at the last stage of placing the order, the so-called drip pricing. Customers should also pay attention to – as stated – “deceptive interfaces, e.g. providing a button to place an order before the consumer is familiar with all fees” or fake timers and exerting artificial pressure.

We have asked company representatives for comment on the matter. However, by the time of publication, we have not received a response.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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