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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Consumer ombudsmen give lessons at schools

< previous | next > 08.10.2018

Consumer ombudsmen give lessons at schools
  • Youth education is just as important as help, which is why consumer ombudsmen share their knowledge and experience at schools.
  • They explain different issues to students, e.g. the difference between warranty and guarantee, and safe online shopping.
  • Municipal consumer ombudsman in Opole trains approximately 1,500 teenagers a year.

As the school year started, consumer ombudsmen appeared at some schools. During special lessons, they introduce students to the basic consumer rights and possible risks, ask about their experience, hold discussions.

The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) appreciates the initiative of many municipal and district consumer ombudsmen who have established contacts with schools and share their knowledge and experience with students. – While travelling around Poland, I received signals from many places that ombudsmen actively engage in educational activities - says Marek Niechciał, the President of UOKiK.

Usually, the ombudsmen have classes with secondary school students who will soon reach the age of majority. Youngsters of this age already make small purchases on their own. However, people may not know that in the case of more serious transactions, such as buying a laptop, teenagers under 18 must have parental consent. Otherwise, the purchase can be cancelled. During the lesson, the ombudsmen address issues such as purchase of goods, possibilities of filing a complaint, safe use of the Internet and mobile phones, and personal data protection. They bring to schools specially prepared presentations and gadgets attractive to young people, e.g. smartphone stickers with the consumer helpline number.

- We try to make the lessons interesting. We arrange them in the form of a workshop. We focus on interaction. That's why we ask students about their experience, e.g. with complaints. Many of them are not aware that they can take advantage of the warranty, they only know about the guarantee. They learn from us, for example, that even if the guarantee for a laptop battery expires after six months, for two years they can still file a complaint to the seller under the warranty. We also advise them to be aware of risks when shopping online, for example, to check, when making payments, if there is a padlock icon next to the website address indicating the site is secure - says Marek Trejda, municipal consumer ombudsman in Opole, who since April 2018, together with the Bar Association and the Faculty of Law at the University of Opole, has been involved in consumer education in the second and third grades of secondary schools. Target: to train 1,500 students within a year to make them conscious consumers who know their rights and how to use them.

- Graphical form of communication and real-life examples are the most appealing to the youth - says Tomasz Gierczak, municipal consumer ombudsman in Gorzów Wielkopolski, who intends to visit all secondary schools in the city with a lecture and presentation during this school year. - We will talk, for example, about the purchase of goods, the possibility of filing a complaint under the warranty. Young people often buy online. Girls - clothes and shoes, boys - mobile phones, computer games, electronic equipment. Sometimes, there are problems with shipping, not everyone knows about the right to withdraw from the contract - he adds.

Anna Magnuszewska, district consumer ombudsman in Płońsk, has been regularly meeting with the first grade students of secondary schools for many years. - Usually, these lessons take place as part of the basics of entrepreneurship course or during form tutor periods. I speak about basic consumer law issues: warranty and guarantee, contracts concluded by telephone or online, what to pay attention to when shopping, obligations of a vendor. The youth are very interested, they remember examples, ask questions during the lesson and afterwards, they seek advice on private consumer issues, e.g. that grandma went to a demonstration and there was a big problem. Then they probably talk about our meeting at home, because always after such lesson, many consumers come to me from a given town - says Anna Magnuszewska.

Besides working with students, consumer ombudsmen also educate seniors. Some of them also give lectures for university students.

Who are district (municipal) consumer ombudsmen

Consumer ombudsmen have been present in Poland since 1999. They help in individual cases, e.g. they offer free advice, they can intervene with entrepreneurs or bring an action on consumer’s behalf. You will find them in every district and city with district rights, use the search engine on the UOKiK website.

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa, Poland
Phone: +48 695 902 088, +48 22 55 60 314
Email: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

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