Poland fines Millenium Medica for unfair practices at shows
Consumers would be invited to undergo a "free examination without a doctor's referral", with such examination to analyse all of their "systems and organs" Through it, they were to find out the state of their digestive system, spine, joints, cardiovascular system and nervous system, among other things.
However, the flyers advertising the shows made no mention of their commercial nature. The only indication included on the flyers was a fine print line reading "While the results are pending, the rehabilitation centre's offer will be presented". Meanwhile, the show's primary purpose was to sell mattresses.
Yet another practice called into question by UOKiK consisted in misleading consumers about their health. The medical examination was conducted using an HSR pulse oximeter.
In December 2018, the President of the Office for Registration of Medicinal Products, Medical Devices and Biocidal Products has withdrawn this device from the market and from use. The reasons for his final decision read as follows: "the results of a single test cannot constitute the basis for a planned therapy or drawing diagnostic conclusions, especially in cases where this device (programme) is used by individuals who are not physicians."
Nonetheless, at shows organised by Millenium Medica, pulse oximeter tests were performed by people without university-level medical education – mainly salespeople – who then convinced visitors to buy products supposedly designed to support treatment or rehabilitation.
Millenium Medica must cease all practices called into question by UOKiK. Additionally, UOKiK President fined the company a total of PLN 275,212 (60,548.96 euro), including PLN 50,000 (11,000.42 euro) for providing false information during the investigation proceedings.
When asked to produce the show invitation flyers sent to consumers, the company sent only a generic template with information about the purpose, location, meeting date and an opportunity to receive a voucher while also denying that it uses other flyer versions. Regardless, thanks to information from consumer advocates and the Trade Inspectorate, UOKiK President already knew about flyers encouraging people to sign up for free medical examinations.
The company must also notify all consumers with whom it has entered into contracts about the unfair trade practices discovered by UOKiK President. Additionally, such notifications are to include information about each injured party being entitled to request compensation for the damage done and pursue claims in court.
The final decision concerning the above practices issued by UOKiK President will be helpful in this regard as it will also be binding upon the court. Consumers are encouraged to reach out to consumer advocates if they require litigation support. ■