Polish consumer watchdog (UOKiK) has announced that it will check if companies have fully adjusted to the amendment of consumer protection rules which entered into force on 25 December 2014. The UOKiK will focus on the issue from the beginning of 2016.
The authority has also published a list of the most frequent infringements of the new rules. According to the UOKiK the most common violations of consumer protection rules are:
- Obstruction of consumers’ right to withdraw from contracts concluded outside of companies’ premises or at a distance (e.g. via Internet).
- Failure to obtain consumers’ consent for additional payments added to the main service fees.
- Failure to obtain consumers’ consent for marketing enquiries.
The UOKiK has also announced that it will cooperate with other authorities (e.g. police and public prosecutors) to chase any companies which do not return consumers’ payments in the case of withdrawal from contracts.
Companies that infringe consumer protection rules may face severe consequences. The UOKiK may impose a penalty of up to 10% of a company’s annual turnover for an infringement. According to the new rules, which are being processed by parliament and may soon enter into force, the authority will also gain new powers to fight infringements of the consumer protection rules. The UOKiK will have the right to publish warnings of possible violations of law in the mass media. It will also be able to temporarily withhold the sale of suspicious products during administrative proceedings.
According to the UOKiK, the purpose of its recent announcement is to let companies introduce any necessary changes in their consumer policy by themselves. It says that it will use all its executive powers in 2016 on companies that infringe the new consumer protection rules.