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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Payment gridlocks

Late payments and too long payment periods have a negative impact on the financial liquidity of enterprises and their development, increase the costs of conducting business activities, and in the most difficult situations may lead to bankruptcy or liquidation of the entrepreneurs affected by them. Problems related to payments cause a domino effect in the economy: entrepreneurs who do not receive payment or receive it late, as a consequence do not have the means to settle their own liabilities to contractors and cause the same problems for subsequent entities. Payment gridlocks are not only a threat to reliable entrepreneurs, but also a serious burden for the economy, slowing down the rate of economic growth.

The Act of 19 July 2019 amending certain acts to reduce payment gridlocks contains a whole package of legal solutions regarding gridlocks. More information about this comprehensive regulation can be found on the website of the Ministry of Development.

Among the many solutions provided for in the package of laws aimed at reducing payment gridlocks, new competences are also provided for the President of UOKiK. The provisions according to which UOKiK  be able to impose penalties in administrative proceedings on companies that have the most excessive delays in payments to their contractors, came into force on January 1, 2020.  In order to streamline proceedings, the Act of 4 November 2022 amending the Act on preventing excessive delays in commercial transactions and the Act on public finance was adopted. It introduced for e.x. the following changes:

- introduction of the principle of currency conversion of benefits denominated in a foreign currency,

- clarification of the legal nature of the probability analysis,

-  introduction of the so-called „soft calls”,  addressed to entities that are not public entities without prior initiation of proceedings. An undertaking contacted by the President of UOKiK may submit a statement of its standpoint within the time limit specified by the President of UOKiK, concerning the matter regarding which the undertaking was contacted in no less time than 14 days from the contacted,

- a new model for calculating the penalty.

When imposing a penalty, the President of UOKiK shall take into account the value of overdue invoices and the length of delay in paymentsThe penalties shall constitute the state budget income and shall be independent of the actions that creditors may take against unreliable debtors on the basis of civil law.

New regulations provide mitigation of administrative fine too. So, when determining the amount of the administrative fine, the President of UOKiK shall take into account:

- the seriousness of the infringement,

- the circumstances of the infringement demonstrated by the party of the proceedings,

- actions taken by a party to the proceedings on its own inititative to stop the infringement,

- cooperation of the party to the proceedings with the President of the Office in the course of proceedings, in particular contributing to quick and efficient condunct of the proceedings,

- fullfilment by the party of the proceedings of all pecuniary benefits not paid within the deadline, together with statuatory interest for delays in commercial transations, not later than within 60 days from the date of delivery to the partyof the decion to initate the proceedings.

New regulations entry into force from December 8, 2022.

Nevertheless, in accordance with the intertemporal provisions, commercial transactions concluded before that date shall be governed by the Act in the current wording.

The existing provisions, i.e. in the wording before December 8, 2022, are also apply to proceedings initiated but not completed before the date of entry into force of the amending Act.


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