Set to come into force on April 17, the amendment from the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection will bolster consumer protection, particularly on the financial services market.
The goal of the amendment is to strengthen the position of consumers by improving the tools that protect them. The new measures were widely consulted with the business community, lawyers and consumer organisations.
The most important changes include:
- A new model for controlling clauses in standard agreements — the President of the Office, by way of an administrative decision, will classify clauses in standard agreements as abusive and prohibit their further use.
- The prohibition of offering consumers financial services which do not match their needs, asdetermined on the basis of the information available to the undertaking about the characteristics of those consumers, or proposing purchase of services in a manner unsuitable for the nature of those services. The goal of this measure is to compel undertakings to analyse whether a given service actually meets the needs of consumers.
- The ability of the President of the Office to present in court a standpoint that is essential to a case concerning competition and consumer protection, should the public interest require.
- The introduction of the “mystery shopper” tool. The “mystery shopper” will enable the Authority to gather information that could be used as proof in cases concerning infringement of collective consumer interests.
- The ability to publish communications and warnings on public radio and television, thanks to which it will be possible to quickly and effectively warn consumers about behaviour or phenomena that pose a serious threat to their interests.
- The introduction of temporary decisions, issued by the President of the Office, that enable swift and effective reaction to practices threatening collective consumer interests. If during proceedings concerning infringement of collective consumer interests it becomes likely that the practice being perpetrated seriously threatens consumer interests and will be difficult to remedy, the temporary decision will force the enterprise to discontinue the practice.