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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Court judgements: consumer protection

< previous | next > 13.10.2017

Court judgements: consumer protection
  • Open Finance, Vision Express, Allianz Polska.
  • These are the enterprises that were subject to judicial judgements following UOKiK's decisions concerning consumer protection.

The described judgments pertain to decisions concerning protection of collective consumer interests.

Open Finance – case no. XVII AmA 20/15

The first of these judgements refers to the decision made in October 2014. UOKiK decided that Open Finance violated collective consumer interests by the manner of informing about the possibility of entering into life insurance and insurance for the elderly contracts with the Insurance Capital Fund (UFK - Ubezpieczeniowy Fundusz Kapitałowy). The Company highlighted the benefits and passed over the circumstances in which the investment may not bring profit or may generate losses. Nor did it report on the costs associated with termination of the contract during its term. For the use of unfair market practices, UOKiK imposed on the enterprise a penalty amounting to over PLN 1.6 million. In September 2017, the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection dismissed the company's appeal by accepting UOKiK’s motivation. The court pointed out that the consumer, by asking the specialist, in this case the seller, has the right to require a clear message that does not mislead him as to the nature and characteristics of the product. Demonstrating benefits at the expense of information of risks involved in investing in UFK life insurance contracts violates consumer rights. The court found no grounds to lower the imposed penalty.

 Vision Express – case no. VI ACa 440/16

Another verdict was pronounced in July 2017 and it concerned the appeal of Vision Express against the ruling of the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection, lodged in December 2015. The subject of the proceedings was UOKiK’s decision made in July 2014, stating that the company applies practices that violate collective consumer interests. The enterprise informed in the TV commercials that Vision Express customers, upon purchasing glasses, will receive two more pairs free of charge. In fact, the client would receive a discount coupon to buy another pair. The Authority imposed a penalty on the company in the amount of PLN 194 000. The Court of Appeal fully upheld the Authority’s opinion and dismissed the appeal of the company. The court stated that the Authority had taken account of attenuating circumstances and correctly calculated the amount of the fine.

Allianz Polska – case no. VI AmA 3/17

The third verdict concerns the decision of December 2013. The Authority stated that in the samples of contracts which, among others, involve the insurance of the furnishing of the dwelling and autocasco - the insurance company applied the provisions that exclude its responsibility in cases where, according to the law, the compensation is due. These were, among others, the cases of exclusion of liability for damage caused by persons close to the insured person or persons performing work in the apartment. As a result of the application of the contested practice, the company's clients were misled about their rights. For applying the contested practice, the Authority imposed on the company a fine of more than PLN 5 million. In September 2017, the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection dismissed the entrepreneur's appeal. The court determined that after reading the contracts in question, the consumer might have not pursued claim because he/she had been informed that Allianz was not liable and would not pay compensation. Yet the rules clearly state under what conditions compensation is due, and the insurance company cannot change that. The court found that the action of Allianz was intentional and the punishment was adequate.

Appeal procedure

The entrepreneurs can appeal to the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection against the decision of UOKiK, and from the decision by the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection - to the Court of Appeal in Warsaw. It is also possible to file a cassation appeal from the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court.

Court judgments database

Since November 2015, the court judgment database is available on the UOKiK website. It contains information on all decisions concerning practices restricting competition, on concentration control, infringement of collective interests of consumers and cases on recognition of unlawful clauses (in which UOKiK was the claimant). The database is available under the "Judgments" tab on the UOKiK website: http://decyzje.uokik.gov.pl/bp/wyroki.nsf. Details on the rules for posting judgments can be found in the document: Zasady informowania o sprawowaniu sądowej kontroli nad decyzjami prezesa UOKiK (The rules governing provision of information on judicial control of UOKiK’s decisions).

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warsaw
Phone 695 902 088, 55 60 345
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]

Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

 

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