Poland’s Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has accused the leading cable operator Vectra of violating collective consumer interests for automatically activating a paid additional service “named Safe Internet”.
In a statement, it says that Vectra is another operator that has come under its due to additional services, with Netia, P4 and Orange previously having to pay compensation to consumers.
It adds that Vectra automatically launched Safe Internet with some promotional offers and without asking consumers for consent to collect payments for it. For the first month or two, the service was free of charge, then – if the consumer did not take action to give it up – it cost PLN6.90 (€1.50) a month.
According to Tomasz Chrostny, president of the UOKiK, “The entrepreneur, at the latest at the time of concluding the contract, must obtain the consumer’s consent for any additional payment exceeding the agreed remuneration for the main service, i.e. in this case beyond the subscription fee. This consent cannot be implied, it must be clear and explicit. The consumer must also have a real choice and the possibility to refuse if the proposed additional service is unnecessary for them”.
Vectra faces the prospect of being fined up to 10% of its annual turnover by the UOKiK.