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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Fruit purchase market - UOKiK accusations against Döhler

< previous | next > 23.08.2018

Fruit purchase market - UOKiK accusations against Döhler
  • Another UOKiK action which will improve the situation of farmers.
  • This week, the Authority has initiated proceedings against Döhler.
  • The accusations pertain to too long payment terms and unclear rules for setting fruit prices.

The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection monitors the fruit and vegetables market on an ongoing basis to improve the situation of farmers. Recently, we have informed about the results of a soft fruit price analysis and accusations against a large processor - T.B. Fruit Poland. Together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, we proposed changes in the regulations, which have been accepted by the Council of Ministers.

In addition since June, UOKiK together with the Trade Inspection have conducted inspections at the fruit processors' premises. Then, the Authority examined whether the undertakings could use their contractual advantage against farmers when setting the fruit purchase prices. The first result of these actions is the proceedings initiated against Döhler. It is one of the largest purchasers of industrial apples and soft fruit, and a producer of apple concentrate in Poland.

The Authority raised concerns about the agreements concluded by the company with fruit suppliers. Döhler offers payment for fruit in 90 days, while the maximum payment term allowed by Polish regulations is two months. Moreover, information gathered by the Authority shows the company does not meet even such a long, set by itself, payment term. The delays reach 64 days, which means, in practice, the farmer waits for money more than five months.

“Delays in payments are grossly unfair, they jeopardize financial liquidity of farmers and hinder their business development. We have serious evidence that Döhler uses such practices. These are not the only accusations against the company. We also do not like the unclear rule for price setting, which makes the supplier unable to estimate, even roughly, how much money he will be paid for fruit,” says the president of UOKiK, Marek Niechcia³.

The purchase price setting at the company is based on many factors, including the supply size, weather conditions and competitors’ behaviour. These are circumstances that can not be predicted when the is concluded, which gives the undertaking discretion in price setting. Yet the purchase agreement should provide a certainty of conditions both to the processor and the farmer.

Fine for the abuse of contractual advantage may amount to 3 percent of the undertaking’s turnover.

All cases involving contractual advantage are handled by the UOKiK Branch Office in Bydgoszcz. As a farmer you can report abuse of rights:

 

Additional information for the media:
UOKiK Press Office
pl. Powstañców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa
Phone: +48 22 55 60 430
Email: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

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