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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Durable medium - next decisions of UOKiK

< previous | next > 13.08.2018

Durable medium - next decisions of UOKiK
  • Alior Bank, Bank Millennium, BZ WBK, Deutsche Bank, Idea Bank, Pekao SA, and Plus Bank incorrectly notified of changes in fees.
  • Following the decisions of UOKiK, they will settle up with consumers for the increased fees or temporarily offer some services for free.
  • Seven proceedings are still under way.

The Office of the Competition and Consumer Protection is in the process of verifying the manner in which banks change the terms and conditions of their agreements with consumers, such as charges and fees. They can do this, but it must be done in line with certain rules. First, the agreement must specify when and in what situations this may happen, e.g. inflation rate change. Second, the bank must indicate a legal basis to the consumer, i.e. a specific point of the agreement, and refer to the situations which are the reason for the increase. Third, information from the bank, new regulations, table of charges and fees must be provided on a durable medium. The term “durable medium” shall encompass a letter sent both in a traditional or electronic form, information recorded on a USB drive, CD, as well as an e-mail, provided that it contains all the necessary data.

The Authority disapproves of the banks sending messages to consumers via the internal e-banking system only. Bank may change such message freely or even delete it. This does not satisfy the definition of a durable medium. Besides, the consumer would have to keep track of the messages received via this system. It often happens we do not check our accounts for a long time, so we could be surprised by higher charges for cash withdrawals at ATMs or account maintenance, and would not terminate the agreement.

The manner in which financial institutions provide information on a durable medium must reflect the needs and technical capabilities of consumers, e.g. seniors, many of them have not got computers. In addition, the Authority disapproves of the fact the banks did not inform clients on regulations being the base for increasing the charges and reasons for the change.

The latest decisions of UOKiK pertain to: Alior Bank, Bank Millennium, BZ WBK, Deutsche Bank, Idea Bank, Pekao SA, and Plus Bank. - I am glad that more banks will adapt their systems to the durable medium. The undertakings started work on appropriate technology on their own. They also offered a compensation to their clients because they introduced new fees without ensuring a legally required form. I positively assess the effort of these banks to implement the principles of a durable medium. I hope the other banks, against which we conduct proceedings, will follow their footsteps - says Marek Niechciał, the President of UOKiK.

Banks will offer clients annexes containing appropriate provisions that will confirm the current fees and charges. They also will settle up with consumers affected by the increases. They will refund the overpayments and also offer certain services, e.g. withdrawals at ATMs, free of charge for a period of time. Customers will be informed about this by the banks in a separate correspondence. For the refund details, please read the UOKiK decisions at: www.uokik.gov.pl. Seven proceedings are still under way. Earlier, we issued decisions regarding Euro Bank, Bank Handlowy, Bank Ochrony Środowiska, Credit Agricole.

Are you a customer of the following banks? Find out what you can count on:

Alior Bank (including customers of T-Mobile Usługi Bankowe and BPH Bank acquired by Alior Bank):  will make up for charges and fees paid in 2014-2016, and will not charge any fees for renewing the proximity sticker for 36 months. Some customers will be offered a one-month no-fee option for: a debit card or withdrawals at ATMs on the Freemium account, a credit card or lowering the interest rate on the revolving credit balance.

Bank Millennium - within a year, will implement changes needed to apply the requirements of a durable medium. This is the first bank that offered to apply a specific solution. Millennium will make up for the overpayments for the card and offer free instant transfers for one month.

BZ WBK - customers will receive a compensation of several dozen to several hundred zlotys for increasing charges or introducing fees, without the need to conclude an annex. 

Deutsche Bank - will make up for charges and fees. Some customers will have right to withdraw cash at ATMs free of charge for one month.

Idea Bank - will refund overpayments to customers and offer a monthly deposit with interest rate of 3%. Additionally, it will not increase fees for the account maintenance and debit card.

Pekao SA - will settle up with consumers and offer free direct debits, standing orders, and transfers at branches for three months.

Plus Bank - will make up for charges and fees, and for two months, customers will have right to withdraw cash at all ATMs in the country and abroad, and to use the Cash Back service free of charge.

Additional information for consumers:

Phone: 801 440 220 or +48 22 290 89 16 – consumer helpline
Email: [SCODE]cG9yYWR5QGRsYWtvbnN1bWVudG93LnBs[ECODE]
Branches of the Consumer Federation
Consumer ombudsmen – in your town or district

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa
Phone: +48695 902 088
Email: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

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