Polish law on consumer rights protection is undergoing significant changes. The government is finalising a white paper on the new system of registering abusive clauses. The Polish consumer protection watchdog (UOKiK) will also gain new tools for preventing violations of consumer rights.

The changes, which will soon be subject to public consultation, include:

  • registering abusive clauses: new clauses will be entered into the register on the basis of the UOKiK’s administrative decisions rather than court judgements, as is currently the case (judicial review will still be available to business entities);
  • limitation period: the period for initiating administrative proceedings will be extended to three years from the end of the year in which a practice that infringes collective consumer rights is abandoned;
  • opinions for the courts: in civil proceedings concerning individual consumer rights the UOKiK will gain a right to submit a non-binding opinion on cases.

Other changes which will concern only the financial sector include:

  • search of premises: the UOKiK will have the right to enter companies’ premises to search for evidence of infringement of collective consumer rights. It already has this right in cartel cases;
  • warnings in the mass media: the UOKiK will have the right to publish in the mass media warnings of possible violations of law;
  • withholding sales of products: the UOKiK will be able to temporarily withhold the sale of suspicious products during administrative proceedings.