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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Judicial decisions: consumer protection

< previous | next > 25.05.2018

Judicial decisions: consumer protection
  • Dolz Finance, Polkomtel, Telekomunikacja Novum.
  • These are the undertakings that were subject to judicial decisions following the UOKiK’s decisions concerning consumer protection

The described judicial decisions pertain to decisions concerning protection of collective consumer interests.

Dolz Finance – Case No. XVII AmA 52/16

The first judgement relates to the decision of May 2016. The President of the UOKiK concluded that Przedsiębiorstwo Usług Finansowych Dolz Finance was guilty of infringement of the collective interests of consumers. Doubts were raised as regards the manner in which consumers were informed about the total costs of loans granted by the company. The undertaking restricted the ability of consumers to withdraw from a consumer loan agreement within the time limit provided for by the law and failed to inform about the amount of interest due in connection therewith. The undertaking also provided misleading information as regards the proportion between the total cost and the total amount of the loan. It charged lump-sum rates for debt collection services which did not correspond to the actual costs incurred by the undertaking. In February 2018, the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection dismissed the company’s appeal in its entirety. In the oral statement of grounds the court concluded that the decision had been correct and fully shared the position of the President of the UOKiK. In the opinion of the court, the transparency of information addressed to consumers as regards the total cost of the loan should not raise any doubts.

Polkomtel – Case No. XVII AmA 52/17

The second judgement relates to the decision of December 2012. At the time, the UOKIK impugned the advertising campaign of the 36.6 mobile telephone network conducted by its owner – Polkomtel. The information included in leaflets, commercials as well as on posters and billboards, among others, was misleading as regards the actual fees. In the advertisements, the operator stressed that the price of phone calls to all networks amounted to PLN 0.29 per minute. At the same time, in the same messages it stated in an unclear manner that the promotion did not apply to the Play network. Furthermore, the undertaking did not inform that the attractive price applied only to calls to the landline and mobile numbers selected by the user, following prior determination thereof for a fee. The President of the UOKiK imposed a fine of more than PLN 4.9 million on Polkomtel. In October 2014, the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection amended the decision, repealing it in the items concerning information that the promotion did not include one of the operators and the fine imposed for these activities. For the remaining practices, it only reduced the fine to more than PLN 2.5 million. The Court of Appeal was of a different opinion and decided in February 2016 that the case should be reconsidered by the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection. In March 2018, after reconsideration, the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection dismissed the company’s appeal. The Court held that the message conveyed through the advertisement was unclear and could indeed mislead consumers. The Court of Competition and Consumer Protection concluded that there were no grounds for reduction of the fine imposed on Polkomtel.

Telekomunikacja Novum – Case No. III SK 65/16

The last of the judgements was issued in January 2018 and related to the cassation appeal lodged by Telekomunikacja Novum against the judgement of the Court of Appeal. In the decision of December 2012 the UOKiK concluded that the company was guilty of infringement of the collective interests of consumers. The President of the UOKiK impugned the practice consisting in breach of the obligation to provide a model of statement of withdrawal from the agreement to consumers with whom the company had concluded an agreement off the premises of the undertaking (e.g. during a visit of a sales representative at home). Moreover, the President of the UOKiK had reservations as regards charging consumers a levy e.g. when a client has cancelled a service order before commencement of provision thereof. This could hinder consumers from exercising the right to change the telecommunications service provider. The UOKiK imposed a fine of more than PLN 1.3 million on the company. The decision was upheld by courts of higher instances. In the last judgement, the Supreme Court dismissed the cassation appeal of the undertaking.

Judicial decisions database

Since November 2015, there is a judicial decisions database available on the UOKiK website. It contains information on all decisions concerning competition-restricting practices, control of concentration, infringement of the collective interests of consumers and cases concerning recognition of prohibited clauses (in which the President of the UOKiK was the claimant). The database is available under the “Decisions” tab on the UOKiK website: http://decyzje.uokik.gov.pl/bp/wyroki.nsf. Details on the rules for posting judgments can be found in the following document: Rules on providing information on judicial review of decisions of the President of the UOKiK.

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa
Phone: +48 695 902 088, +48 22 55 60 345
Email: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

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