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Vinted second-hand platform slapped with hefty fine

July 4, 2024

Second-hand retailer Vinted has been fined over €2 million after European customers accused it of data privacy shortcomings. The company had denied the charges.

A mobile phone shows the Vinted logo in the foreground and a pair of shoes in the backgound
Vinted is a Lithuania-based online marketplace and community for second-hand clothes, and fashion accessoriesImage: Dreamstime/IMAGO

The Lithuanian data protection authority fined second-hand online retailer Vinted nearly €2.4 million ($2.6 million) on Wednesday. The fine levied on the popular online second-hand store was for violating its customers' data protection rights.

The decision comes after complaints from customers in France, home to Vinted's largest user base, and Poland regarding how the company handled personal data.

Lithuanian authorities charged Vinted with "improper implementation" of data protection principles, which had "negatively affected the ability of users of the platform to exercise other rights" under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Lithuanian State Data Protection Inspectorate (SDPI) added.

SDPI said in a statement that the company failed to improve users' access to their personal data and did not do enough to ensure "implementation of the principle of accountability."

A mobile phone shows a Vinted ad
Vilnius-based Vinted has been fined millions for infringing on users' data protection rightsImage: Dreamstime/IMAGO

Investigation reveals several breaches

Complaints from France, Poland, the Netherlands and Germany were primarily related to difficulties in exercising the right to delete private data, according to SDPI.

The French consumer protection authority CNIL highlighted that Vinted also engaged in "stealth banning," making certain users invisible without their knowledge

Following its investigation, SDPI ruled that Vinted infringed on several articles of the European Union's GDPR policy. The body also found Vinted hid additional costs in transactions.

Vinted denies allegations

The company has disputed the fines brought by the data protection agency. "We fundamentally disapprove of this decision," Vinted told the AFP news agency. 

The company added that it believed the ruling has "no legal basis" and sets "a new precedent that goes beyond both current legislation and industry practice."

When determining the €2,385,276 fine, the SDPI said it considered Vinted's international reach, the extensive impact of the breaches on users and the prolonged duration of the violations.

Vinted has announced that it will appeal the ruling. The company has argued that the fine exceeds current legislation and industry standards.

What is Vinted?

Vinted was founded in Vilnius in 2008 by Lithuanian entrepreneurs Justas Janauskas and Milda Mitkute. Today the online business claims to have over 100 million users worldwide.

On Vinted's website, registered users can sell their second-hand goods. The company has amassed customers for its eco-friendly approach, where used clothing and accessories can be resold by listing them on the platform.

Turning privacy into profit: Is data the death of democracy?

sp/sms (AFP, dpa, LUSA)