Poland’s Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has fined UPC Polska PLN12.5 million (€2.57 million) for charging its subscribers excessive costs for terminating their contracts early.
According to the UOKiK, UPC customers had to pay more for the termination of a fixed-term contract than they would have paid for its continuation.
As a result, Tomasz Chróstny, the president of UOKiK, has ordered UPC Polska to discontinue the practice and reimburse consumers for incorrectly collected fees.
UOKiK adds that one subscriber said: “I wanted to terminate the contract concluded with UPC earlier. After contacting me by phone, I was informed that if I had terminated the contract in August this year, the fine is PLN11,000. The contract was concluded in March 2021 for two years. The cost of the entire contract is approximately PLN3,100”.
Similar cases were described by other aggrieved parties: “We have been informed that the fee will be PLN4,000. The amount of termination of the contract is absolutely inadequate to the price for the service – we are currently paying PLN60 for the internet, so the total amount by the end of the contract would be PLN 900”.
Commenting on the situation, Chróstny said: “The practice of UPC Polska applies to thousands of Polish consumers. The company overstates the discounts granted to its customers, which constitute the basis for calculating the fee for contract termination. Thus, the company de facto forces consumers to continue contracts – many of them did not decide to terminate the cooperation, fearing a high fee for its termination. Such behavior of UPC Polska should be assessed as reprehensible not only in economic but also social terms. UPC must change the unfair practice and refund consumers an amount that exceeded the sum of subscription fees remaining until the end of the contract”.
UPC, which is owned by France’s iliad. Must publish the decision on its website. It can also appeal the decision to the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection.