Are Online Marketplaces Riskier than E-Shops?

Online marketplaces, also known as marketplaces, may be more risky for customers regarding delivery quality, related services, and payment security than e-shops, said Tomáš Prouza, president of the Union of Commerce and Tourism, on Thursday. Returns and warranty claims may also be more complicated. According to Prouza, the Union has received customer complaints primarily about delivery, returns, or product exchange.

Marketplaces offer various types of goods from different sellers, have little or no product limitations, and quickly supplement their offerings. “Customers have a huge selection in one place,” said Prouza.

Two significant marketplaces entered the Czech market this year. The largest is, which includes the and e-shops. The second largest is

These platforms offer customers various types of goods, mostly from foreign sellers. According to Prouza, marketplaces in the Czech Republic are new, so it will take some time for customers to get used to this type of service.

Consumers are already turning to customer service for individual online marketplaces, but they also write reviews on publicly available websites. “Complaints usually relate to delivery or help with returns or product exchange. It is usually direct contact between the seller and the customer because a legal relationship is created between the customer and the seller when purchasing on a marketplace,” said Prouza.

“At the time of purchase, is an intermediary between the buyer and the seller. Payment is made directly in the Allegro environment, but the specific seller always does invoicing,” said Jakub Charvát, spokesperson for He added that Allegro also ensures that purchases are made safely.

The same is true for the marketplace. “When shopping through Kaufland, the contract and legal relationship are between the seller and the customer. As a marketplace, we provide platform technology and take care of payments and the purchasing process,” said Renata Maierl of Kaufland corporate communications.

Purchases on a marketplace are governed by the seller’s general terms and conditions (GTC). Any disputes will be resolved according to the seller’s GTC, which may not be advantageous or understandable to consumers, especially with foreign sellers, according to Prouza. Another dimension is ensuring payment security and customer service are available throughout the purchase process and after completion. “If all of this doesn’t exist or doesn’t work, the relevant marketplace becomes a ‘suspicious’ place,” said Prouza.

Customers dealing with foreign sellers operating on marketplaces may encounter a shorter warranty period than the 24 months stipulated by Czech law. According to Prouza, this is another reason large chains and experienced companies should operate marketplaces. In some cases, warranties have been provided for only one month. “If the conditions in other countries differ to the customer’s disadvantage, he should be informed,” added Prouza.