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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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PLN 7 million of penalty for Deutsche Bank Polska

< previous | next > 23.01.2019

PLN 7 million of penalty for Deutsche Bank Polska
  • Deutsche Bank Polska uses prohibited clauses in model contracts for loans denominated in Swiss francs or euros.
  • The bank specifies the foreign currency exchange rates and the possibility of change thereof in an imprecise manner.
  • The President of UOKiK imposed a penalty amounting to nearly PLN 7 million on Deutsche Bank Polska.

The President of the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection has issued a decision declaring three clauses used by Deutsche Bank Polska abusive. He has also prohibited the use thereof. The President initiated the proceedings against the bank in May 2017. The clauses impugned by UOKiK are included in model contracts, annexes and regulations for loans denominated in CHF or EUR. The provisions impugned by the President of UOKiK concern calculation of exchange rates and the principles of performance of loan contracts by consumers.

The first clause concerns imprecise and ambiguous principles of determining foreign currency exchange rates. E.g. the bank would specify them based on the average exchange rate on the foreign exchange market, not later than by 09:30 a.m. However, it is unknown what the bank means by this phrasing, on what website consumers can find data from the foreign exchange market, and which exchange rates (i.e. from what time) will be taken into account by the bank. “Such clauses are important for people with mortgage loans in foreign currencies. If they were clear, precise, specific, bank clients would know at the right time what instalment they will need to pay. In this case, they could not verify how Deutsche Bank Polska had estimated the exchange rate,” believes Marek Niechciał, President of UOKiK.

The Office also declared two clauses concerning changes in exchange rates abusive. For example, based on one of them the bank could change the amount of currency spread once a month and in the face of specific factors. However, it did not specify the maximum amount, so it could increase it arbitrarily and at any given time. In addition, it would be very difficult for consumers to verify if the parameters specified by the bank had changed – or even impossible.

The clauses declared abusive by the President of UOKiK are listed in the decision. The fine imposed by the Office on Deutsche Bank Polska amounts to nearly PLN 7 million (PLN 6,982,145). The President of UOKiK ordered the bank to send letters informing of the decision to its consumers. The decision of the Office is not final as Deutsche Bank Polska may lodge an appeal.

Final decisions of UOKiK are viewed as precedents in court proceedings. This means that findings of the Office concerning the abusive nature of a provision are binding upon courts. When resolving individual cases, courts should not evaluate the same provisions again as regards their prohibited nature. Consumers who concluded contracts with Deutsche Bank Polska will be able to refer to final decisions of UOKiK when asserting their rights in court.

The President of UOKiK is also verifying the method of determining exchange rates at
8 other banks. The proceedings were initiated following consumer complaints. UOKiK’s actions also concern: Getin Noble Bank, Raiffeisen Bank International AG (formerly: Raiffeisen Bank Polska), BGŻ BNP Paribas, Santander Bank Polska (formerly: BZ WBK), Bank Millennium, PKO BP, BPH, Pekao S.A.

Consumer support:

Phone: +48 801 440 220 or +48 22 290 89 16 – consumer helpline
Email: [SCODE]cG9yYWR5QGRsYWtvbnN1bWVudG93LnBs[ECODE]
Consumer ombudsmen – in your town or district

Financial Ombudsman – when a complaint has been rejected by a bank

Contact for the media:

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

Attached files