Court rulings on competition and consumer protection cases in Poland - May-June 2016
In May and June, Poland’s Court of Competition and Consumer Protection (SOKiK) and Court of Appeal (SA) ruled on 14 decisions and lawsuits UOKiK issued. The cases involved the financial industry and the construction of a sport facility.
The cases concerned decisions finding infringement of collective consumer interests, cases of limiting competition, and lawsuits UOKiK filed over the use of prohibited clauses. The courts fully upheld six of the Authority’s decisions, partially upheld another two, and completely overturned one. The courts ruled in favour of UOKiK in three of the lawsuits, and against it in one. Below is a summary of the most important rulings the courts issued in May and June.
COLLECTIVE CONSUMER INTERESTS PROTECTION
Getin Noble Bank
In December 2013, UOKiK issued a decision in which it stated that Getin Noble Bank misled customers with whom it had concluded unit-linked life insurance policies (UFK). The unfair practice consisted in Getin Noble providing insufficient information on the risks involved and the charges for breach of contract. UOKiK fined the bank 5.6 million PLN (ca. 1.26 mln EUR). It appealed the decision in the SOKiK, and in June 2016 the court ruled that Getin Noble’s practices were indeed illegal, but it reduced the penalty to 5 million PLN (ca. 1,13 mln EUR) on the grounds that UOKiK had not taken into account the bank’s voluntary compensation as a mitigating circumstance.
In 2013 UOKiK found that 4Life Direct failed to state in materials advertising its insurance campaign „Moi bliscy” (“My loved ones”) essential information about the conditions governing their compensation policies. SOKiK dismissed the subsequent appeal, ruling that UOKiK’s factual findings and legal assessment were correct. It has also maintained the fine of 25 693 PLN (ca. 5,800 EUR).
In November 2013, UOKiK issued a decision stating the company Auxilia, which investigates compensation claims, misled consumers. It advertised its business claiming, that its compensation was 70 percent higher than the competition and that it won 97.7 percent of cases. In UOKiK’s view, those figures were calculated using unreliable data. Auxilia appealed the decision, but both courts upheld UOKiK’s decision. In May of 2016 the SA dismissed the company’s appeal on the grounds the claims were formulated on the basis of outdated, incomplete and selectively chosen data. It also maintained the original fine of more than 14,000 PLN (ca. 3,170 EUR).