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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Judicial decisions: consumer protection

< previous | next > 07.12.2017

Judicial decisions: consumer protection
  • Polkomtel, Apolandia.com.
  • These are the undertakings that were subject to judicial decisions following UOKiK's decisions concerning consumer protection

The described judgements pertain to decisions concerning protection of collective interests of consumers.

Polkomtel – case no.  XVII AmA 26/15

The first judgement relates to the decision of December 2014. The President of the UOKiK concluded that Polkomtel was guilty of infringement of the collective interests of consumers. The contested practices concerned, among other things, making it difficult for consumers to exercise the right to withdraw from a distance contract, impeding the ability to terminate an agreement, providing unreliable information concerning rights to withdraw from an agreement, exposing customers to excessive contractual penalties. A financial penalty in the amount exceeding PLN 8,000,000 was imposed upon Polkomtel by UOKiK. The Court of Competition and Consumer Protection agreed with the reasoning of UOKiK and dismissed the company’s appeal.

Apolandia.com – case no. XVII AmA 19/15

Another judicial decision was issued in September 2017 and concerned the appeal of Apolandia.com, managed by Jolanta Rene Makowska in Zakopane, against the decision of the President of the UOKiK of December 2014. The doubts of UOKiK regarded the mutual donation scheme on the website darczyncy.eu. In order to join the scheme, each interested party had to make a one-time payment in the amount of PLN 35 for the benefit of the organiser and PLN 30 to the account of an assigned participant – also a member of the scheme. The financial gains of each member were dependent on the creation of
a circle of donors, which could consist of a maximum number of 216 individuals. In such
a case, a member could receive a maximum amount of PLN 4,900 (income tax threshold), meaning PLN 1,058,400 in total. UOKiK decided that the mutual donation scheme of Apolandia.com was a pyramid promotion scheme because the operation thereof was financed by further consumers. Furthermore, in UOKiK’s opinion Apolandia.com, the organiser of the pyramid scheme, misled consumers by suggesting that GIODO, UOKiK, the KNF Office, and the Tax Inspection Office, among others, in Cracow had declared the scheme legal when none thereof had done so. The Court of Competition and Consumer Protection dismissed the company’s appeal. In the oral statement of the reasons for its decision, the Court stated that the practice of the undertaking suggested that members could obtain high profits without providing any guarantee thereof. Individuals at the lowest level of the scheme might have failed to receive any donations, thus losing the contributed funds. With respect to the second allegation, the Court stated that the manner of presentation of information through use of the logo of public authorities, among others, was aimed at making activity of the undertaking appear credible. The purpose was to give consumers the impression that Apolandia.com had been verified by public authorities and operated lawfully and legally. In reality, none of the institutions had verified the compliance of activity of the company with the regulations on competition and consumer protection, and some thereof are not authorised to inspect the activity of undertakings in this scope.

Appeal procedure

The undertakings may appeal to the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection against the decision of the UOKiK; subsequently, they may also appeal against the judgement of the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection to the Court of Appeal in Warsaw. It is also possible to file a further appeal against the judgement the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court.

Judicial decisions database

Since November 2015, the judicial decisions database is available on the UOKiK website. It contains information on all decisions concerning competition-restricting practices, control of concentration, infringement of collective interests of consumers and cases on recognition of prohibited clauses, (in which the President of the UOKiK was the claimant). The database is available under the “Decisions” tab on the UOKiK website: http://decyzje.uokik.gov.pl/bp/wyroki.nsf. Detailed information on the publication of decisions is provided in the document entitled Rules on providing information on the judicial review of the decisions of the President of the UOKiK.

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa, Poland
Phone: +48 695 902 088, +48 22 55 60 345
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]

Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

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