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Poland's watchdog says internet provider UPC must return money

Staff Writer |
Finding that UPC illegally informed customers of an increase to their monthly internet bill, the Consumer Protection Authority in Poland has ruled the company must now reimburse them.

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This is the latest case to see UOKiK use its public compensation tool. For the infringement of collective consumer interests, it also imposed a fine of more than 800,000 PLN (ca. 187,760 EUR).

Reacting to media reports and consumer complaints, Poland’s Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) opened proceedings against internet and telecom operator UPC in January 2015.

How the company went about increasing its prices for internet access by 7 PLN (ca. 1,65 EUR) per month raised the Authority’s concerns. The new monthly payment had gone into force December 1, 2014.

UOKiK pointed out that agreements concluded with service providers for an indeterminate period may be changed only when they include the required modification clauses.

Such provisions detail what may be changed in the agreement, and under what circumstances, which would consequently affect the price of the service.

In this case, UOKiK determined that UPC illegally informed consumers of the changes to the monthly charges. The agreement the company had used did not contain the appropriate modification clauses.

According to UOKiK President Marek Niechcial, „UPC should not have unilaterally changed the agreements.

The company violated good practices, because the price hike was its exclusive will. Consumers could either pay the higher price or cancel the contract, but they weren’t allowed to use the offer they had been on.”

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