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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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ITI Neovision - public compensation

< previous | next > 31.08.2017

ITI Neovision - public compensation
  • Some of the former and current subscribers of the nc+ digital platform will be reimbursed for the costs incurred or will have the option to take advantage of the company’s services free of charge. This is the result of the proceedings conducted by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, in the course of which ITI Neovision, the provider of the service in question, has undertaken to provide its customers with public compensation.
  • The above applies to those consumers with respect to whom the company applied unfair market practices in the course of conclusion or extension of distance contracts.
  • All consumers whose right to withdraw from the contract was not recognised by the undertaking shall be entitled to receive compensation.

ITI Neovision is a company which, among other fields of activity, provides satellite television services under the “nc+” brand. The proceedings against the company were initiated in December 2015, with consumer complaints being one of the causes of commencement of the said proceedings. In the course of the proceedings it has been determined that there may have been irregularities in the course of conclusion or extension of distance contracts (including mostly contracts concluded over the telephone).

In the light of the Act on consumer rights, the extension of a contract is treated as the conclusion of a new contract. According to the provisions of applicable laws, in both of these cases the consumer shall have the right to withdraw from a contract within the period of 14 days at no extra cost. The commencement of the use of services before that date may only take place at the consumer’s express request. However, whenever a consumer begins to take advantage of the television services provided, this shall not be tantamount to forfeiture of the right of withdrawal; in the event of such withdrawal, the consumer must only bear the costs of the services provided until the day of withdrawal.

However, the information provided by consumers as well as the analysis of the sales calls and internal procedures of the undertaking clearly show that ITI Neovision would commence the provision of services without seeking the express consent of its consumers. Furthermore, the company would also mislead its customers by stating that the commencement of the provision of services shall be tantamount to forfeiture of the right of withdrawal from the contract within the period of 14 days. The company took the view that television services involve the provision of digital content and are therefore covered by a statutory exemption.

In the context of television services, there are two distinct scenarios to consider. On the one hand, the subject of the contract may be the provision of specific programmes (such as sports events) or visual recordings (e.g. VoD services) to the consumer. Whenever the consumer watches a film or other programme ordered from the undertaking, this means that the undertaking in question has discharged its obligation in its entirety. In such cases, the right of withdrawal from the contract shall not apply. On the other hand, however, a television service may also involve the provision of a permanent access to a specific package of channels. It is this variant that was covered by the proceedings conducted by the UOKiK. In this case, the subject of the contract is not the provision of specific content, but the provision of the services offered by the undertaking on an ongoing basis. It follows that the consumer shall be entitled to withdraw from the contract on condition that the costs of the services already provided are reimbursed.

The Competition Authority has also determined that, in years 2013-2014, the company has failed to inform some of its customers about the option to withdraw from the contract and would also frequently fail to comply with the obligation to provide the consumers with the confirmation of conclusion or amendment of a contract within the designated time frame.

The actions taken by ITI Neovision were particularly disadvantageous to those consumers who were denied their right to withdraw from the contract. The only option for such consumers was to terminate the contract – which entailed the need to reimburse the undertaking for the discount allocated upon conclusion of the contract – or to continue to use the services provided against their will.

The company has undertaken to discontinue the impugned practices as well as to provide consumers with compensation. Within the period of 6 months, the company shall be under the obligation to provide its current and former subscribers with specific benefits. The benefits in question shall differ depending on the practices applied to the given consumers:

  • Failure to seek express consent for the commencement of the provision of services or lack of possibility to withdraw from a contract once the provision of services has begun (applies to those customers whose complaints were rejected).

Current subscribers will be able to take advantage of their current package free of charge for a period of 6 months and will also receive a promotional offer. Former subscribers who terminated the contract prematurely shall be reimbursed for the costs of contract cancellation as well as for the amounts previously paid for the television services rendered. Those former subscribers who did not terminate the contract prior to the expiry thereof shall be reimbursed for the ITI Neovision services rendered over the last 6 months.

  • Failure to provide information on the right of withdrawal from a contract between March 2013 and July 2014 (applies to those customers whose complaints were rejected).

Current subscribers will be able to take advantage of their current package free of charge for a period of 3 months. Former customers will be reimbursed for the subscription fees charged over the last 3 months.

  •  to provide confirmation of conclusion of the contract within the designated time frame between March 2013 and July 2014.

Those consumers who received the contract conclusion confirmation only after they filed a complaint shall have the right to take advantage of the current package free of charge for a period of 3 months (current subscribers) or shall be reimbursed for the subscription fees charged over the period of the last 3 months during which the services were rendered (former subscribers). Those consumers who received their contract following the lapse of the designated timeframe but who did not need to contact the company in order to obtain such contract shall be able to access selected services free of charge for a specific period (current subscribers) or shall receive a promotional offer (former subscribers).

Until the moment that the practices in question are changed, ITI Neovision has also undertaken to admit the complaints filed by those consumers who have been misled into thinking that the commencement of the provision of services entails the forfeiture of the right of withdrawal from the contract and whose right to withdraw from the contract within the period of 14 days was denied by the company.

The decision is final. Following the discharge of its obligations, the company shall provide the UOKiK with a report describing the actions taken.

Additional information for the media:

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

Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

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