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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Additional service without consumers' consent - further proceedings against telekom

< previous | next > 09.06.2022

Additional service without consumers' consent - further proceedings against telekom
  • An entrepreneur who offers extra charged services to a contract must obtain the consumer's express consent to activate them.
  • The President of UOKiK has brought charges of violating the collective interests of consumers as a result of automatically activating the extra charged service "Bezpieczny Internet" (Safe Internet) against Vectra.
  • This is yet another operator that the President of UOKiK has investigated due to additional services - Netia, P4 and Orange have to pay compensation to consumers.

The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection has initiated proceedings against Vectra, a company providing, among other things, cable television and Internet access services. The charges relate to the "Bezpieczny Internet" add-on service, which, until 11 May 2020, the company had automatically activated for some special offers and charged for it without obtaining the consumers' consent. For the first month or two the service was free of charge, then - if the consumer did not take action to opt out - it cost PLN 6.90 per month.

'The entrepreneur is obliged to obtain the consumer's consent to any additional payment exceeding the agreed remuneration for the main service, in this case the subscription, at the latest at the time of concluding the contract. The consent cannot be implied, it must be clear and express. The consumers also have to be given a real choice and the possibility to refuse if they do not need the proposed additional service,' says Tomasz Chróstny, President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.

The obligation to obtain consent before the conclusion of the contract to any additional payments arises from Article 10 of the Act on Consumer Rights. Meanwhile, during sales calls, Vectra consultants only informed consumers about the "Bezpieczny Internet" service and about the possibility to opt out of it later, but they did not ask whether they were interested in activating the service. This was the case when the terms and conditions of the offer presented to consumers stipulated that to conclude the contract under promotional terms, it was necessary to activate the extra charged service "Bezpieczny Internet". Since 11 May 2020, Vectra has been activating the additional service "Bezpieczny Internet" only with the consumers' express consent, and new special offers have no longer made the possibility of concluding a contract dependent on the mandatory activation of such a service. However, the company may still charge for the additional service "Bezpieczny Internet" activated under the old rules. The President of UOKiK took soft measures against Vectra and informed the company that it should remedy the infringement and compensate consumers for their losses. The proposals made by the company did not sufficiently compensate consumers for the consequences of the above-mentioned practice. Therefore, the President of the Office initiated proceedings which may result in Vectra being obliged to pay compensation or to pay a fine of up to 10% of its annual turnover.

Vectra is not the first telecommunications company to be held liable for charging consumers for additional services activated without their express consent. In recent months, the President of UOKiK issued decisions against Netia, P4 (Play network operator) and Orange Polska under which they are obliged to pay compensation to aggrieved consumers.

Consumer support:

Phone: 801 440 220 – Consumer Helpline
 E-mail: [SCODE]cG9yYWR5QGRsYWtvbnN1bWVudG93LnBs[ECODE]
Consumer Ombudsmen – in your town or district
 Office of Electronic Communications - Consumer Information Centre Phone: 22 330 40 00

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa, Poland
Phone +48 695 902 088, +48 22 55 60 246
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

Attached files

 

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