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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Contractual advantage - new law enters into force today

< previous | next > 14.07.2017

Contractual advantage - new law enters into force today
  • The act on counteracting the unfair use of contractual advantage in the trade in agricultural and food products has just entered into force.
  • The proceedings pertaining to the new regulations will be conducted by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.
  • The Bydgoszcz branch office of the Competition Authority has been designated as the responsible unit in this regard.

The act on counteracting the unfair use of contractual advantage in the trade in agricultural and food products has just entered into force. The aim of this act is to eliminate unfair trading practices in the course of transactions between undertakings operating in the agricultural and food industry.

- Contractual advantage occurs in cases where there is a significant disparity in economic potential between the recipient and the purchaser and where the weaker of the these two parties lacks the sufficient capacity for selling or purchasing agricultural or food products from other undertakings – explains Marek Niechciał, President of the UOKiK.

The tasks pertaining to the new regulations have been allocated to the Bydgoszcz branch office of the Competition Authority.

 – The results achieved by the highly experienced team working at our branch office have convinced us that it is to them that we should allocate this new, responsible task. The implementation of the provisions of the new act on a nationwide scale is, without
a doubt, an immense challenge. The area governed by the new act ultimately affects us all, for all of us are consumers and all of us want to shop safely and pay reasonable prices. We also wish to ensure that all relations between buyers and sellers remain fair; it is this objective that the provisions of the new law are intended to achieve –
said Mikołaj Bogdanowicz, the governor of the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship.

Basic facts about the new law:

  • An undertaking who suffered loss as a result of the actions of any of its business partners may file a complaint with the Competition Authority where the total value of the turnover between the supplier and the recipient exceeded the amount of PLN 50 thousand during any of the two years preceding the year in which the proceedings are initiated. A further precondition is that the turnover of the party that enjoys a stronger position in the given relationship exceeded the amount of PLN 100 million during the preceding year.
  • The complaint submitted by the undertaking shall indicate the entity accused of the unfair use of contractual advantage, describe the facts of the case and contain information pointing towards an infringement of the provisions of the act as well as the personal data of the undertaking filing the complaint. In addition, the undertaking filing the complaint shall attach to such complaint all the documents which may serve as evidence in the given case.
  • Apart from filing the complaint in the traditional form, i.e. by mail, the aggrieved undertakings may also submit their complaints by e-mail: [SCODE]cHJ6ZXdhZ2FAdW9raWsuZ292LnBs[ECODE]
  • The Competition Authority may also examine the case on the basis of information which it obtains on its own or on the basis of the relevant media coverage.
  • Cases involving contractual advantage shall be examined by the UOKiK Branch Office in Bydgoszcz.
  • The Competition Authority may only intervene where it is necessary to protect the public interest. This means that the role of the UOKiK is to eliminate unfair practices from the market, as opposed to providing compensation to specific aggrieved parties.
  • The maximum amount of financial penalty for the abuse of contractual advantage which the UOKiK may impose shall amount to 3% of the turnover of the given undertaking achieved in the year preceding the year in which the penalty is imposed.
  • The proceedings may also be completed without any financial penalty being imposed. The Competition Authority may refrain from imposing a fine if the undertaking voluntarily undertakes to refrain from the use of unlawful practices or to remedy the consequences thereof.
  • Entities operating in the agricultural and food production chain can still enjoy the freedom to choose their business partners and shape the terms and conditions of trade as they please. The Competition Authority may only interfere with the process of determining the prices of products or with a decision to refuse to conclude a contract in drastic circumstances, i.e. where the conduct of the entity which enjoys a significant advantage goes against the public interest.
  • The provisions of the act shall not apply to situations where the supplier sells products to cooperatives, groups or organisations of fruit and vegetable producers.
  • Cases pertaining to the obligation to conclude a written contract for the purchase of agricultural produce shall fall within the scope of competence of the Agricultural Market Agency.
  • For more information about the new act, please visit our website (only in polish): http://przewagakontraktowa.uokik.gov.pl.
  • Contact information of the UOKiK branch office in Bydgoszcz: ul. Długa 47, 85-034 Bydgoszcz; phone: 52 345 56 44.

Additional information for the media:

Press Office of the UOKiK
pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa
Phone: 695 902 088, 22 55 60 430
Email: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]

Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

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