Amazon is misleading customers over nature of purchases claims Polish watchdog

Amazon has been accused of misleading consumers in Poland by the country’s competition watchdog.

The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) this week issued a statement saying that Amazon is misleading in how it presents the conclusion of sales contracts, the availability of products along with consumer rights.

The UOKiK directly pointed to the nature of ordering through Amazon, with it unclear to customers that Amazon only treats purchases as binding from the moment that it confirms shipment. It cited the use of phrases like ‘buy now’ and ‘proceed to checkout’ which lead customers to believe that the transaction takes place immediately once payment is made.

While these terms exist in small print on Amazon’s website, they are not made clear and their placement makes it difficult for consumers to find their rights. Similarly, the watchdog said that delivery guarantee terms with the option to receive a refund in case of delay are obfuscated on the site.

The watchdog said that it launched an inquiry into the practices in September 2021 following consumer complaints. Should the UOKiK report be proven, Amazon EU could be handed a penalty of up to 10 per cent of its turnover.

Commenting on the findings, Tomasz Chrostny, head of 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.”

Elsewhere, Amazon has reported its financial results for the quarter. The company's revenues for the holiday period beat analyst expectations, but Amazon has warned that its operating profit could fall to zero in the current quarter as a result of consumers and cloud customers cutting down on spending.

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