Will OLX refund customers’ money? The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection questioned the website’s practices

Luc Williams

The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) questioned the practices of the OLX sales website and obliged the OLX Group to make changes and refund customers’ money. The president’s allegations concern misleading consumers as to the scope of the protection package, not providing information that the product can be purchased without service and misleading sorting of offers according to the cheapest products, the Office reported.

The office took action based on complaints from consumers who were surprised that the paid protection package did not actually guarantee this protection, it was reported.

“As a result of the actions of the OLX Group, consumers suffered negative financial consequences. The company used a number of provisions that significantly limited the scope of their protection. The protection paid for by buyers was in fact apparent – consumers, despite purchasing a service intended to ensure transaction security, could lose money to dishonest sellers. OLX also used misleading sorting of the cheapest offers available on the website, because when searching for them it did not take into account the price of the service service. Moreover, the architecture of the portal did not indicate the possibility of purchase through direct contacts of the parties to the transaction, i.e. without the ‘Service service’. Information on the terms of service they cannot be misleading. The consumer has the right to expect that a given website will be designed in a fair manner and that the information contained therein will be true and reliable,” said Tomasz Chróstny, president of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, quoted in the release.

The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection stated that the OLX platform was misleading as to the scope of buyer protection offered. Many people were convinced that the protection would work if they received a damaged product. This could be evidenced by messages sent to users after purchasing the product (e.g. Item received? Your payment is suspended for 24 hours – during this time you can confirm that the order is OK). In fact, the terms and conditions of this service included many exceptions. The internal application processing procedure used by OLX was also more beneficial for sellers, providing them with, for example, longer deadlines for providing information. Consumer complaints were therefore rejected, and the funds that the buyer paid for the item went to the dishonest seller. Knowing this in advance, consumers might not have opted for the “Protection Package”, especially since by choosing this option they had to pay for the “Service”, which increased the purchase price, it was reported.

“The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection questioned the lack of information that products available on the website can be purchased without having to pay a service fee. The architecture of the OLX website did not reflect the provisions of the regulations, according to which the purchase of items is also possible through individual arrangements between the parties to the transaction. Consumers also had doubts about this fee, below is an example notification: ‘OLX separates the price of the service fee. Such an arrangement could suggest that the price of the service fee is already included in the price of the product. However, when we click ‘Buy with shipping’, only then do we see the correct price,’” we read in the announcement.

The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection questioned the display of search results, which were misleading. When selecting the positioning option “from the cheapest” – the order of displayed products did not take into account the fee for the “Service”. It was added only to some products. As a result, more expensive products could be displayed higher than cheaper offers, which could influence their choice by the consumer. This practice is an example of the so-called dark patterns, i.e. unfair use of knowledge about consumer behavior on the Internet to influence their purchasing decisions, was also indicated.

OLX is a leading e-commerce and re-commerce platform on the Polish market.


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