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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Payment gridlocks: 100 proceedings in 2020

< previous | next > 04.01.2021

Payment gridlocks: 100 proceedings in 2020
  • In December, President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny initiated 28 further proceedings against large companies that are likely to fail to pay their contractors on time.
  • In total, the Office has already been conducting 100 proceedings on payment gridlocks and the first decisions are planned to be issued in January 2021.
  • The aim of the proceedings is to eliminate late payments, which are particularly severe for smaller companies during the pandemic.

Payment gridlocks are one of the major problems of the Polish economy and one of the biggest obstacles in running a business. Undertakings that are notoriously not paid on time for the goods or services they supply are consequently unable to settle their own obligations. Gridlocks are particularly severe for smaller companies: they increase their operational costs, hinder their development and, in times of pandemic, they may decide on “to be or not to be” of the businesses that had experienced them. It is therefore extremely important to stop this process and to prevent the devastation caused by the gridlocks in the economy.

- Information from the last quarter of 2020 indicates that nearly half of entrepreneurs in the SME sector are already affected by the problem of invoices delayed by more than 60 days. Receiving timely payment for goods or services supplied may be a prerequisite for the company's survival and for maintaining their employees' jobs. We are currently conducting 100 proceedings against companies that may be in arrears with payments. This is twice as many proceedings as the legislator had assumed by adopting special regulations limiting payment gridlocks. These are not easy proceedings. The first decisions towards entrepreneurs responsible for payment gridlocks will be issued in January – says Tomasz Chróstny, President of UOKiK.

In late December, President of the Office Tomasz Chróstny initiated proceedings against another 28 entities in the sectors threatened by payment gridlocks, including food (meat), construction, transport and cosmetics industries, which are likely to be excessively late with payments due.

New proceedings concern the following companies: Rossmann Supermarkety Drogeryjne Polska, Dhl Parcel Polska, Cognor, Budimex, Cedc International, Celsa “Huta Ostrowiec”, Brembo Poland, Wipasz, Viterra Polska, Solaris Bus & Coach, Sokołów, Strabag, Agri Plus, Cemex Polska, Ciech Soda Polska, Amrest, Superdrob, Zakład Przemysłu Mięsnego Biernacki (Biernacki Meat Processing Plant), Zakłady Mięsne Skiba (Meat Company Skiba), Pekaes, Dsv Road, Abp Poland, Przedsiębiorstwo Usług Technicznych Intercor (Technical Services Company Intercor), Grupa Producentów Drobiu (Poultry Producers Group), Altrad-Mostostal, Wojas, Anwim, Polaqua. A total of 100 proceedings on payment gridlocks are under way.

In the proceedings, the President of UOKiK verifies commercial transactions between a given company and its contractors in order to determine which of them were due during the period under scrutiny (in this case July–August–September 2020) and which were not completed or completed after the due date. Entrepreneurs are obliged to provide information and documents at the request of the President of the Office, including electronic tax records and accounting evidence. To determine whether invoices have been paid on time, the President of UOKiK may examine data contained in Standard Audit Files for Tax (JPK), such as JPK_WB or JPK_KR, and assess data from different sources, including information
and explanations from the parties to the proceedings or documents obtained as a result of the audit.

What is the penalty for payment gridlocks?

The President of UOKiK may intervene if the sum of outstanding payments due owed by an enterprise within 3 consecutive months is at least PLN 5 million (as of 2022 this amount will change to PLN 2 million). This applies to arrears under the invoices issued after 1 January 2020 or earlier, if their payment has become due after 1 January 2020.

The sanction that may be imposed on enterprises is the sum of individual penalties for each outstanding amount owed or paid past its due date. Individual penalties are calculated according to a special formula and their amount depends primarily on the amount owed and delay in payment. Examples of penalty calculation for specific amounts owed as well as the most important information regarding the competencies of the President of UOKiK as regards payment gridlocks can be found on website www.zatoryplatnicze.uokik.gov.pl

Gridlocks in the agri-food sector

In 2020, the President of UOKiK also investigated excessive delays in payments as part of the proceedings concerning practices related to the abuse of superior bargaining position by 100 largest entities from the agri-food industry. Following this intervention, the majority of entrepreneurs disbursed the outstanding money to their suppliers for a total amount of over half a billion PLN and removed the questioned provisions from their trade policies and concluded contracts. One of the entrepreneurs who has failed to settle their outstanding liabilities is SCA PR Polska – a company responsible for purchases in the Intermarche chain, which was charged in autumn by President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny with unfair use of their contractual advantage.

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa, Poland
Phone +48 695 902 088, +48 22 55 60 246
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

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