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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Instant loans - UOKiK proceedings

< previous | next > 23.10.2018

Instant loans - UOKiK proceedings
  • Loan rolling - is the major allegation against Z這tówka group companies (Bis, Duo, Three).
  • Failure to refund some credit costs in the case of its premature repayment - is an example of an allegation against a loan company operating under the name of Euroexpert.
  • The President of UOKiK is currently conducting over 60 investigations concerned with loan companies.

Instant loans are low value credits (e.g. PLN 1,000) extended for short periods of time (e.g. one month). They are usually taken advantage of by those whose credit applications have been rejected by banks.

Z這tówka

The President of UOKiK has formulated allegations against Z這tówka group companies (i.e. Z這tówka Bis, Z這tówka Duo and Z這tówka Three) that provide consumers with cash loans and operate primarily in Pomorskie and Kujawsko-Pomorskie provinces. One of the allegations is concerned with loan rolling - a practice that may be aimed at working around the provisions of the Consumer Credit Act, in its part related to the cost of loans. One of the Z這tówka group companies loans several hundred zlotys to a consumer, charging its own commission. If the customer fails to settle the amounts due, e.g. because of their difficult financial situation, other Z這tówka group companies conclude, with that consumer, on an alternating basis, agreements concerned with the repayment of previous liabilities. However, he money is not paid out to the borrower. It is used to settle the costs of subsequent loans. This generates a continuous profit for Z這tówka, and the debt increases. For example: an old age pensioner from Toru borrowed PLN 400 and failed to repay that amount. Talked into the scheme by Z這tówka, she kept concluding, every month, over a one year period, new agreements. The company collected the total of PLN 960 in fees - over twice as much as it has originally lent.

Pursuant to Art. 36c of the Consumer Credit Act: if the consumer has failed to repay a loan within 120 days and takes out another loan, they are protected – all fees collected within that period of time must be within the limit of non-interest costs imposed on the amount of the original loan. This provision aims to eliminate the practice of rolling loans, i.e. taking out subsequent credits to settle previous liabilities.

Euroexpert

UOKiK has initiated proceedings involving Euroexpert - a company based in Bydgoszcz. The Authority’s reservations concern, inter alia, a situation when the company retains some of the fees related to the preparation of the contract (commission for extending the loan) if the customer settles the loan prematurely. Pursuant to applicable legal regulations, all fees imposed by the creditor should be refunded, proportionally to the period of time over which the agreement will no longer be in effect. The amounts involved may be rather considerable for consumers, as Euroexpert charges a commission that may equal up to 30% of the loan amount.

UOKiK vs. loans

The President of UOKiK is currently conducting over 60 investigations concerned with loan companies. In 2017 the Authority issued 9 decisions regarding this sector of the market (Net Credit, Meritum Polska, Incredit, Provident Polska, Wonga.pl, Compass Money, EGF Council, Council, For you).

Consumer advice

  • The costs of a loan include interest and other fees (e.g. for preparing the contract, commission, insurance).
  • 10% – is the maximum interest rate currently in effect. The limits are set forth by the Civil Code. The limit is equal to twice the statutory interest (worked out by adding 3.5% to the reference rate of the National Bank of Poland, currently amounting to 1.5%).
  • Non-interest costs must not exceed the amount that is borrowed. The creditor works them out using a special formula. Their maximum amount equals the sum of 25% of the loan and 30% of a variable amount that depends on the number of days or years for which the loan is granted.
  • RRSO (Annual Percentage Rate of Charge) - is the actual, annual interest rate, i.e. the cost of the loan, defined as a percentage of the amount we are borrowing. Makes it easier to compare individual commercial offers.
  • Information form - every creditor is required to provide such a form to the consumer prior to concluding the agreement. The form lists the costs associated with the loan, and the fees charged.
  • 14 days - the period of time within which you may withdraw from a consumer loan agreement. You will be required, however, to pay interest for the period of time over which the money was deposited in your account.
  • You may repay the loan prematurely, at any time. The financial institution must settle the amounts charged - you will be refunded proportionally to the period of time that remains until the original due date.
  • Check if the loan company or the credit broker is listed in a register maintained by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF).

Consumer support:

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

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
pl. Powsta鎍ów Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warsaw
Phone: +48 695 902 088
Email: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

Attached files

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