The investigation found that customers who concluded contracts for an indefinite period received letters informing then about the acceleration of internet speed and the price of this service being PLN7 – the new rules were to enter from March 1, 2015. A year later the operator increased the subscription again – from PLN8 depending on the package. In the letters, the company also informed that it was introducing a provision in the contracts which made it possible to change the amount of the subscription fee.
UOKiK stated that neither the increase of the subscription fee and the amendment of the provision should be introduced, as the concluded contracts did not provide for such a possibility. They did not include the so-called modification clauses that precisely define what and under what conditions may change during the term of the contract.
UOKiK’s president Tomasz Chrostny added: “We do not question the entrepreneur’s right to change contracts concluded for an indefinite period – but it must always be done on the basis of a clear, precise and understandable modification clause”.
In terms of compensation, current customers who overpaid by no more than PLN200 will be offered one free service, and those by over PLN200 two free services. These include mobile telephony, security package, access to specific channel packages, such as HBO, Polsat Sport Premium, My Prime, Mega Sport or Canal + Prestige. Some, who use other services that were not increased in price, will also be offered subscription reductions to these services.
Meanwhile, former UPC Polska customers will receive refunds of 75% or renew their subscriptions with discounts for up to 18 months.
UPC Polska will now be required to restore the previous prices and not increase the subscription in the future for a specific group of customers.
Significantly, the regulator says the decision is final and enforceable. It also says that it is also investigating where Vectra, Poland’s largest cable operator, also made similar changes to its contracts.