Million-zloty fines for management personnel that violate consumer rights

Available languages: PL

In 2015, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (“UOKiK”) was granted the power to impose high fines on people in management positions in companies that violate the prohibition of anticompetitive agreements. The recently adopted amendment to the law, which will come into force on 15 December 2018, provides for a similar power in the case of violations of consumer rights.

The President of the UOKiK will be authorised to impose fines on management personnel if, in the exercise of their function, they deliberately allow the company to violate:

  • the prohibition on including abusive clauses in contracts entered into with consumers; or
  • the prohibition on using practices that infringe collective consumer interests.

The maximum fine imposed on a manager may amount to PLN 2 million (approx. EUR 480,000) and, in the case of managers in the financial sector, up to PLN 5 million (approx. EUR 1.2 million).

Thus far, the UOKiK has not commented on the new rights granted to its President, and the introduction of this significant change took place without the participation of market representatives. The legislative proposal in this respect was also not subject to public consultation.