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Four fined for buying stolen clothes on the net

TT/Rebecca Martin · 1 Mar 2012, 07:27

Published: 01 Mar 2012 07:27 GMT+01:00

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“It sends the message that you are responsible to find out where things (you buy) come from and not take any old explanation,” said Mattias Flodwall, consumer guide from Gothenburg, to Sveriges Radio (SR).

The clothes were stolen over the course of three years by a 44-year-old Gothenburg woman who pilfered high street fashion stores of clothes and accessories valued at up to three million kronor ($453,700).

She sold her loot cheaply over the internet auction site Tradera, Sweden’s version of eBay.

After being found out and standing trial, she was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison, a sentence the appeals court lowered to 2.5 years.

But the court also convicted four of her customers.

The Appeal’s Court (Hovrätten) agreed with the district court’s verdict and on Wednesday sentenced the women to a fine amounting to 60 days’ pay for dealing with stolen goods.

The woman had said that she was able to buy the stock at cost, being a stock room employee or driver of a company delivery van, reported SR.

However, the court didn’t find the explanation plausible enough for her customers to have accepted her story at face value.

Instead, the court was of the opinion that the women should have tried to find out more about the woman’s identity and the origins of what she was selling.

The four women made many purchases from the 44-year-old, to a value of 25,000 to 32,000 kronor each.

Experts on consumer rights say that it s vital that anyone buying clothes through private vendors make sure they know the true origin of the goods.

Story continues below…

“I think so definitely. The fact is that you have a duty to make enquiries and that you can’t hide behind good faith. So even if you don’t get jail time you will lose the things you bought should they turn out to be stolen,” said Annika Brändström, CEO of the Swedish Theft Prevention Association (Stöldskyddsföreningen) to SR.

Peter Gustavsson, legal expert at the Swedish Consumer’s Agency (Konsumentverket), agreed.

“Anyone buying something from an individual should ask to see a receipt to know how the seller came to own it,” he told news agency TT.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:07 March 1, 2012 by hilt_m
ok am i the only one who thinks this is stupid? How exactly are you meant to find the true origin of the products you buy on ebay? All you can really do is ask the seller. Peter Gustavsson is living in a dream world if he thinks that a receipt is going to make a difference, anybody can knock up a receipt. I think it is fair enough that you lose the things that you brought if they turn out to be stolen and you should then seek legal help to gain back the money you paid for the items from the seller, but to also be punished by the courts is just ridiculous. The only time you should be punished by the courts is if it can be proved that you knew that the items were stolen when you brought them, which was not proven as far as I can see. I'm surprised that the courts didn't try to fine ebay as well, for providing an avenue for distributing stolen goods.
09:36 March 1, 2012 by nitzz
I saw a store in Sweden selling clothes at 80-90% discount or also in fynd. It may be stolen because it is so cheap. Individual has right to sell things and assume the responsibility when they write a receipt, same for the company. Is it possible i can be prosecuted for buying these clothes from store as they might be stolen or tax not paid by seller.
09:41 March 1, 2012 by isenhand
@hilt_m, no u r not the only one.

People do not have the resources of the state to have the option the check sufficiently enough to verify where goods come from, we pay taxes for a police force who have the job of doing that.


With the mark up on goods, its quite possible to sell items at cost and still have a discount of 80-90%. The size of the discount is not enough to say the goods are stolen. Nor is a receipt, as people can forge the receipt as well.
09:55 March 1, 2012 by zooeden
Peter Gustavsson is living in a dream world like every single Swedish, his non real wonder models only work in theories. i.e Like the red card, you take one out and the bully realize he has done something wrong and has to reflect on it... OR bring any kind of neanderthal, surely it will realize all the chances and then integrate and become something of itself.... Its just like that here, so boring...
09:58 March 1, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
A salutary lesson in ANY internet trading.

I presume that the facts presented in the case led to the conclusion that the buyers SHOULD have had reason to question the origin of the stuff

Having said that, I've sold a second hand door and windows on blocket, in the past - can I just point to the open space in the building and say: THATS where they came from? Lol!

Would be useful if the Konsumentverket produced a set of guidelines on internet trading (if they haven't already got one)
10:42 March 1, 2012 by Gubbe
By the same token, I'd like to see every hi-tech gadget owner in Sweden prosecuted for buying the gadget with full knowledge that it was manufactured with slave/child labour.

I mean, it just stands to reason, right?

Clothing owners too - I find it amazing that these two women were in trouble for buying stolen goods that they should have know were stolen, but the rest of us are allowed to buy goods made with slave/child labour... oh wait, I see - this was because they bought it off of Tradera, and not from a reputable business that engages in slave/child labour... Ahh, now I get it.
12:18 March 1, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
I'm all for ethical (as well as LEGAL) shopping - anywhere.

A 'bargain price' is what motivates many people to buy, but if we're going to have a conscience about it, then its well worth referring to the International Labour Organisation's website detailing which countries have signed up to its conventions to 'eliminate the worst forms of child labour' - and more tellingly, which ones HAVE NOT.

Gives one quite a bit to think about.
12:32 March 1, 2012 by ?????
That's a joke, right?

Unless Swedish state has trained it's people in CSI methods so that they can take fingerprints and DNA tests at home...

Haha, thank you swedish legal system, nice to start my day with a laugh!
12:45 March 1, 2012 by Grokh
why isnt the website and the people who sold it the ones responsible ?
13:22 March 1, 2012 by Abe L
Bs, bs, bs, it's like opposite day it seems. Never in any circumstances should the responsibility in these cases be put with the BUYERS but instead with the people who SELL STOLEN GOODS.

You can never know for a fact and you can't blame people for trying to get a good deal, they where probably told these weren't stolen and that's all you can do as a consumer when in doubt.

Really, this country is crazy.
13:45 March 1, 2012 by BritVik
Guilty until proven innocent - - -
14:07 March 1, 2012 by muscle
dont buy chinese stuff, designs might have been stolen. :S stupid!
14:07 March 1, 2012 by BillyB
If you are buying 32,000 kronors worth of high street fashion store clothes on Tradera, brand new, from someone who says they get them cheap as they work in the stock room then you deserve everything you get.

im sorry, any person who can say they would honeslty, hand on heart, say they truely believed it was all legal is a complete and utter idiot.
14:44 March 1, 2012 by Scepticion
Total rubbish, in many other cases charges are dropped against a real criminal or offender because of "lack of evidence". I just recall that a drunk driver blamed a non-existent imaginary friend for driving the car (the local), and he was cleared because the court couldn't prove otherwise. Now here the court turns it all around. Where is the evidence that they purposely bought stolen goods? People may clean out their attic, little shops go bankrupt all the time, there are many reasons stuff is sold.
14:55 March 1, 2012 by bubbagump
I'm pretty sure this has everything to do with the line of thought that Gubbe touched on. I'll take it one step further. The govt. isn't really excited about Tradera and Blocket as people sell goods directly to one another and it's much harder for them to keep track of the VAT (sales tax to you in the US). Of that 25,000SEK and 32,000SEK, the Swedish govt. could only focuse on the fact that they lost 6,250SEK and 8,000SEK respectivley in VAT. Yep, 25% sales tax here.

As stated elsewhere in this thread, had the same clothes, for the same money, been sold in a clearance sale at H&M, the govt. wouldn't have said a word.
14:58 March 1, 2012 by strixy
This is the most idiotic ruling ever!

I frequently sell designer stuff one bay and cheap because I need to make space for new stuff.

Do you think I collect receipts for stuff I bought AGES ago? Well, the answer is, NO!

Those judges need to get a grip on reality.
15:39 March 1, 2012 by Great Scott
For Sale

One Swedish government.

Never used still in box.

Operating instructions missing.

17:47 March 1, 2012 by philster61
Billy B

Go to madbid.com and see if you think the same principle applies there.... 32,000 kr is not an insignificant amount of money to pay for clothing..
20:35 March 1, 2012 by Svensksmith
I see Swedish judges are as bright as American judges.
20:44 March 1, 2012 by spo10
this is ridiculous! so we play not only as customers but as investigators as well. if items put up on ebay or tradera are deemed suspicious even if they only cost say 100kr, so it's our duty to exhaust any means necessary to obtain information about the seller then about the items that person are selling. might as well put on the description: PS: not stolen. feel free to call me, visit me, ask me or put surveillance before buying the goddamn item!
13:21 March 2, 2012 by BillyB

are you seriously comparing buying from madbid to buying from a random person on tradera???

Madbid is a registered, licenced company and all its products are from reputible suppliers with an audit trail of where it comes from.

They still rip people off but in a legal way...

How if that in any way the same as buying what are clearly stolen good from a stranger on tradera??

I stand by my comment...idiots.
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