Since 2018, almost 1,600 consumers have complained to consumer authorities in Sweden and Denmark regarding the Danish-owned online stores Pluus, Buuks and Sayve, and their joint customer club.

The majority of complaints have been received in 2020 and 2021.

Recurring in the criticism from consumers is that they did not realize that the payment information provided to do what they thought was a one-time purchase, would also be used for automatic debiting of a monthly fee to the sites' customer club.

- Subscription-based sales are relatively new, and therefore there is a risk that some consumers misunderstand the form of purchase, writes the online stores' administrative director Rasmus Andersen in an email to SVT's consumer editorial Plus.

- Fortunately, we find that our members understand the concept to an overwhelming degree and are satisfied with their subscriptions.

“Trying to be clear”

According to Andersen, attempts have been made in several ways to make it clear to consumers that the discounted prices on the sites presuppose membership in a customer club.

- Among other things on the web shop's front page, in connection with all prices and in connection with “check out” and in the order confirmation sent via email, the complete membership conditions appear.

Membership costs SEK 129 per month and according to Andersen, the information on the sites is continuously improved.

Different authorities - different assessments

In Sweden, the General Complaints Board has in several cases judged that the online stores have been sufficiently clear to customers.

But at the same time, hundreds of reports to another Swedish authority, the Swedish Consumer Agency, have led to contacts with the Danish Consumer Ombudsman (Consumer Ombudsman), who in turn has made the opposite assessment.

The Consumer Ombudsman has now sued the online stores and wants the subscription agreements to be declared invalid and for both Swedish and Danish customers to be compensated.

The online stores do not want to comment on details of the ongoing court process, but dispute the Consumer Ombudsman's allegations and believe that they follow current legislation.

Plusredaktionen's reporters need your help to take the review of problematic online shopping further.

Photo: SVT

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