CDiscount links fines and data theft, but clings to profitability

An administrative fine of 986,432 euros was imposed on the Bordeaux company at the end of 2020 “for lack of a compliant order summary concerning the CDiscount at will subscription, reports AFP.

Nearly one million euros are claimed by the Departmental Directorate for the Protection of Populations (DDPP) of Gironde for breaches of consumer information. In detail, the company is accused of a “lack of a compliant order summary concerning the CDiscount at will subscription”.

Subscription to the CDiscount at will offer allows customers to benefit from free delivery costs (for a minimum of 10 € or 25 € of purchase depending on the options chosen) and an order summary, for a price of 29 euros. An offer intended to compete with the famous Amazon Prime of its biggest competitor on French territory. With some success.

An appeal lodged with the administrative court

“Since I discovered this offer, I do without Prime” indicates a customer of the company interviewed by . “Especially since the shipping times are very efficient”.

But a specific formula of this offer, relating to a free trial period for the same service and which became payable after six days in the event of non-withdrawal, did not provide consumers with a summary of their orders. Hence the sanction.

The state service investigation, carried out following consumer complaints, identified 988,432 incidences of the absence of an order summary over a period from May 2018 to October 2019.

Contacted by AFP, CDiscount, a subsidiary of the Casino group, ensures for its part that the DDPP has not identified this volume of incident. To calculate the amount of the fine, the Directorate “chose to generalize the findings made on [une] ten cases to all subscriptions taken out during the period “.

The company indicates “formally contest this decision both on its basis and on its amount, the exhaustive information throughout the purchase process being fully respected”. CDiscount has filed an appeal with the administrative court “to assert its position”.

Data from 33 million customers in the wild

Worries have been mounting in recent days for the French e-commerce giant, which now claims more than 10 million customers. Earlier this month, a company executive was suspected of stealing data from 33 million customers. Some of the stolen data, which does not include banking information, seems to have been offered for download on specialized sites. The suspected official has been indicted.

“What we can clearly state is that no banking data is affected by this event, Cdiscount does not store any banking data of its customers. The stolen data concerns the name, first name, gender and date of birth, the customer’s email address as well as the total amount of orders over the last two years. The possible use of this type of data is an attempt at phishing or unwanted commercial prospecting “then indicated a spokesperson for Cdiscount at LSA.

Moreover, this is not the first time that the one who wants to be the most important competitor of Amazon on French soil in mesh with the authorities. In 2016, the Cnil, alerted by dozens of complaints, had identified no less than 10 breaches, particularly in terms of security on the CDiscount site. The e-commerce site then received a public warning and a formal notice. 10 years earlier, the company was convicted of false advertising and violation of sales legislation.

A new marketplace offer launched at the start of the year

In 2020, the company’s business volume is growing by nearly 8%, which reduces its debt. CDiscount also contracted its losses (15.7 million euros against 61.6 million in 2019) and improved its profitability, with operating income up 63%, to 133 million euros, indicates Les Echos.

Results which are largely the result of the development of its marketplace, whose revenues are up 21.6% in 2020 (to 1.5 billion euros). The fact remains that CDiscount Marketplace, launched ten years ago, has so far not made any profits.

Mid-January CDiscount announced the launch of a solution for a new marketplace offer (technology, products, logistics) to enable physical commerce players and pure-players to speed up their e-commerce activity.

“This new strategic pillar constitutes a strong axis of international growth and profitability, as structuring as the launch of our market place ten years ago. Through the launch of this new activity, we are bringing a European technological, logistics and e-commerce proposal internationally, thus contributing to the emergence of an alternative digital model ”, said Emmanuel Grenier, Chairman and CEO of Cdiscount.

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