Poland’s Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has issued a decision obliging UPC Polska to change its sales practices used in connection with concluding distance contracts agreed during telephone conversation or via its website.
In a statement, UOKiK says that it questioned the cable operator’s failure to provide consumers information during telephone conversations about the possibility of withdrawing from the contract within 14 days. This information is mandatory. UOKIK also questioned the failure to confirm the terms and conditions changed during telephone conversations to consumers who had not consented to the sending of documents in electronic form. In such a situation, subscribers received the contract only during the visit of the technician who installed the internet / TV access service in their home. For many people, this time could be too short to read the contract.
UOKIK also questioned UPC Polska’s failure to recognising that the consumer successfully changed the terms of the contract during a telephone conversation, even though they did not confirm this to UPC Polska on paper or other durable medium. The law requires that, after talking to the consultant, the operator sends a confirmation of the terms discussed during the interview, and the consumer replies to it. Its absence means that the contract has not been changed.
Finally, UOKiK questioned way in which UPC Polska confirmed to consumers the conclusion or amendment of contracts – it sent e-mail links redirecting to documents on the website. This form does not meet the requirements of a durable medium.
The operator will now change these practices queried by UOKiK. In addition, for the conclusion or amendment of a contract, the terms of which were agreed during a telephone conversation, consumers will now have to expressly confirm their willingness to do so after receiving confirmation from the company of the new terms. During the sales conversation, customers will also be informed about the possibility of exercising the right to withdraw from the contract, and the changes will be presented to them on a durable medium.
The operator will also offer various services to people who submitted complaints from December 25, 2014 about the practices questioned by the UOKiK in the decision. Those who continue their contracts will be able, for example, be able to activate a specific mobile telephony offer provided by UPC Polska, increase the parameters of internet access or gain access to a specified sports channel. These services will be provided to consumers free of charge for a period of two or three billing periods. Meanwhile. persons who are no longer subscribers to the company will be able to receive several dozen zlotys (PLN20 or 30) or conclude a new contract on more favorable financial terms, which will be in force for two or three months.
UPC Polska will also inform consumers about the benefits they are entitled to and how they can benefit from them within three months.