When ordering Christmas gifts online, e.g. from outside the EU via sales platforms, it is worth checking who is the seller and what the Polish store is responsible for. If the seller is in Asia, there may be problems with pursuing the rights, warns UOKiK.
In Thursday's announcement, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) advises that before using the offer of an online store such as "Straight from a foreign producer, cheap", "Our sellers from Asia", "The customer is an importer of goods", check the entrepreneur's data, its seat delivery time It is worth making sure that we are not dealing only with an intermediary who is not responsible for anything.
"This year, many people, in order to minimize the risk of coronavirus infection, will order Christmas gifts online. Some of them may be imported from outside the European Union through sales platforms operating in the dropshipping model. It consists in the fact that the consumer is dealing with two entrepreneurs. "- said the President of UOKiK, Tomasz Chróstny, quoted in the press release. He explained that the first is usually an online store registered in Poland. The second one is most often an entrepreneur based in the Far East, e.g. in China.
"It is very important to check in the regulations who the seller is and what the Polish store is responsible for. If the seller is in Asia, be aware that there may be problems with pursuing our consumer rights" - he emphasized.
The head of UOKiK called on consumers to pay attention to who they conclude the contract with and who is responsible for its implementation. "If on the website or in the regulations there are entries such as + seller of goods from Asia + or + the customer as an importer of goods pays customs and fiscal charges +, the consumer should be lit with a red lamp" - points out the OCCP
If the customer decides to buy, he must be aware that in the event of problems, e.g. with shipping or defective goods, he will file a complaint in Asia and may have a problem with its enforcement - reminds the Office.
UOKiK experts verified the regulations of the stores operating in the dropshipping model. They pointed to several variants of dropshipping. In the first case, entrepreneur A is a seller, and entrepreneur B - a supplier, and such a situation is the most favorable for consumers, because everything is the responsibility of a Polish company and Polish consumer law applies. Before the transaction, you can check the entrepreneur, and in the event of any problems - pursue claims from the store that is on site.
In a situation where entrepreneur A is an intermediary, but acts in the name and on behalf of the consumer, and entrepreneur B is the seller, the Polish store clearly indicates in the regulations that it takes on some or all of the seller's obligations. "It is optimal for the consumer for the Polish entrepreneur to be responsible, for example, for defects in the goods under the warranty, for the delivery of purchases within a specified time or accept returns in the event of withdrawal from the contract" - indicated UOKiK.
The third variant, in which entrepreneur A is only an intermediary, and entrepreneur B - a seller, is the most common and least favorable situation for consumers. The broker has obligations towards them only as entered in the regulations. Sometimes it doesn't type any. In this option, consumers often have to send their own product returns or complaints to distant countries where different regulations may apply.
Chróstny appealed to Polish entrepreneurs to use patterns that are friendly, beneficial and transparent for consumers when constructing the regulations of their e-stores, to take on the obligations of sellers regarding complaints or withdrawal from the contract. "This attitude will pay off. Consumers will appreciate the strong competition on the e-commerce market that they are not sent back to China with problems and will be more willing to use the offer of reliable stores" - emphasized the President of UOKiK.
The office advises you to check, among others, whether there are regulations on the store's website before buying; if there is none, it is best not to buy there, because you do not know what the rights and obligations are; if there is, you should read it carefully and pay attention to who is the contracting party (seller). It is also worth checking that the website has complete information about the seller. The lack of the full name, seat or contact details may mean that the store wants to hide something, e.g. that it is based outside the EU. Providing the data and address of the entrepreneur or entrepreneur for whom he acts is a statutory obligation.
It is also good to verify whether the company is based in the European Economic Area - in this case, very similar consumer laws apply as in Poland, and the European Consumer Center at UOKiK will help in pursuing claims.
In the event that the customer had to deal with a dishonest internet entrepreneur and paid by card, he can recover money thanks to the so-called chargeback procedure by submitting a complaint to the bank. If it sees some suspicious website, it can notify the hosting company or domain registrar. Their data can be determined at: www.dns.pl or whois.domaintools.com (for foreign domains). If fraud occurs, the law enforcement agencies should be notified - the police, the prosecutor's office.