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Fine for Deutsche Bank Polska. UOKiK decision

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Tomasz Chróstny, President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, imposed a fine of over PLN 5.7 million on Deutsche Bank Polska for a practice infringing collective consumer interests, UOKiK announced on Monday.

“Unacceptable unilateral changes to abusive provisions in performed contracts – this is how you can briefly describe the practice for which Deutsche Bank Polska SA was punished by the decision of the President UOKiK the amount of over PLN 5.7 million (PLN 5,750,370)” – informed UOKiK.

UOKiK: consumers were misled

According to the Office, consumers were misled in connection with the dissemination of false information by the bank regarding the change in the amount of fees charged for issuing certificates for loans or mortgage loans denominated in foreign currency, including Swiss franc.

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As reminded by UOKiK, “the abusiveness of the amended provisions was stated in the decision by the President of UOKiK in August 2020”. He added that even before the final decision was issued, during the administrative procedure, the bank, instead of ceasing to apply them, in September 2019 sent information to consumers regarding the unilateral change of these clauses. UOKiK emphasized that the bank was fined for this action and must inform consumers about their right to compensation.

The Office indicated that documents concerning, among others, debt repayment history or accrued interest are needed by people who intend to seek, for example, cancellation of the contract or return of unjustly charged installments in court. According to UOKiK, on ​​their basis it is possible to determine the sum demanded from the bank. He noted that this is particularly important for consumers who have concluded mortgage loan agreements denominated in the Swiss franc.

“After the new provisions were imposed by Deutsche Bank Polska, the abusive ones were replaced by numerous complaints about fees for issuing certificates. According to them, the bank charged PLN 795-905 for a set of documents most often requested by consumers. a consumer would need all certificates for a loan period of more than 10 years, he would have to pay up to PLN 1,845 to the bank.

Chróstny: the bank can not unilaterally provisions

He added that in accordance with the applicable principle of the non-binding nature of abusive provisions, the bank should not charge any fee for them and may not introduce unilaterally imposed new provisions, including new fees, in place of abusive provisions.

“Consumers may not have been aware that the bank is not entitled to unilaterally change the provisions, which in themselves are abusive. Therefore, they may not have known that the prohibited clause and its amendment are not binding on them. Deutsche Bank Polska provided consumers with untrue information, which influenced their decisions regarding the payment of unjustly imposed fees for issuing mortgage loan certificates, said Tomasz Chróstny, President of UOKiK, quoted in the communiqué.

The Office indicated that one of the ways to introduce new clauses to an ongoing agreement in place of abusive provisions is to sign an annex by both parties, in the nature of a voluntary agreement and with awareness of the consequences of its conclusion.

Penalty for the bank

According to the announcement, after the decision becomes final, Deutsche Bank Polska will have to pay a fine of over PLN 5.7 million, and inform consumers about the possibility of obtaining a refund in connection with issued bank certificates for loans or mortgage loans denominated in a foreign currency. Instructions on applying for compensation were included in the decision of the President of UOKiK.

The decision is not final; the entrepreneur may appeal to the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection.

We have asked the bank for comment on this matter. However, by the time of publication, we have not received a response.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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