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Kancelaria Wiński

A bargain for ‘0 pln’ is a risk in e-commerce

On the 15th of July 2013, the daily journal "Rzeczpospolita" published an article by Łukasz Kuligowski entitled "E-okazja za 0 złotych" ["E-bargain for 0 PLN"], including an expert commentary by attorney at law Marek Wiński, a partner in the law firm Hasik, Wiński and Partners.

The article is devoted to the issues of e-sales and focuses on situations when the minimum price had not been set at the time of listing the product at an online auction, or situations when the consumer uses an error of e-store service, which occurs when a certain product is listed inappropriately undercharged or even for free.

In case of sales at online auctions, the buyer is in a much better position than the seller. For the buyer may require the release of the goods, even if the seller had unintentionally not set the minimum price, and, as a result, the buyer obtained the item for much less than the market value. Marek Wiński points out that "in this type of cases, the courts consistently find that by choosing the option 'buy now' or by winning the auction, a legally binding sales contract comes into force, regardless of the price. The courts rightly assume that the bottom line of online sales is a quick decision to purchase the goods listed at the auction and take advantage of the opportunity." To support this claim, two court verdicts were cited, under which the sellers were forced to release vehicles sold much below their value, which was the result of omitting the minimum price setting when listing them at online auctions.

The article also covered the case of a client of an online store selling household appliances, who bought a catering stove valued at 10 thousand PLN, listed for sale for 0 PLN. In such case, the consumer may claim the release of goods before the court of law.

Marek Wiński notes that "a consumer, who had purchased the product for 0 PLN at an online store, has the right to demand the release of the goods. The store can try to cancel such transaction by referring to a system error or an employee’s mistake. The store could benefit from the fact that the product in question costs 10 thousand PLN in other stores, and not 0 PLN. However, this does not guarantee that the court will be on their side.”

Source: Łukasz Kuligowski, „E-okazja za 0 złotych”, Rzeczpospolita, 15 July 2013 r.
A short version of the article is available on "the "Rzeczpospolita" website.


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