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Swiss franc loans. The Frankowicze filed a complaint to the European Commission against the Supreme Court’s resolution of May 2021

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The Stop Banking Lawless Association filed a complaint to the European Commission regarding a possible breach of EU law in connection with the May resolution of the Supreme Court. It concerns determining the moment when the limitation of the bank’s claims against the customer begins to run under an agreement with abusive clauses. In the opinion of the Association, the resolution “unequivocally gratifies entrepreneurs who use prohibited contractual provisions in their relations with consumers”.

We have submitted a complaint to the European Commission regarding a breach of EU law in connection with a May resolution of the Supreme Court determining the moment when the limitation of the bank’s claims against the customer begins to run under an agreement with abusive clauses, Arkadiusz Szcześniak from the Stop Banking Lawless Association told PAP.

The Supreme Court composed of seven judges ruled in May this year that the bank may request the return of the benefit from the moment when the loan agreement becomes permanently ineffective. The ineffectiveness becomes final when the properly informed consumer has not consented to the abusive provisions or has objected to the use of protection against the nullity of the contract.

– According to the interpretation of the Supreme Court, the limitation period for the bank’s claims against the client begins only when the client clearly declares before the court during the hearing that he is ready for the consequences of the invalidity of the contract. So we have a situation that in the case of a contract with prohibited clauses, the limitation period begins only at the stage of a court case, while in the case of a fair contract, after three years – only because the customer has not filed a claim and the contract itself is lawful – Arkadiusz Szcześniak, president of the Stop Banking Association, assessed in an interview with the Polish Press Agency. – It is very illogical and, in our opinion, violates EU regulations – he said.

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The Frankowicze have filed a complaint with the European Commission

As Szcześniak said, a formal complaint to the European Commission against this ruling was submitted on Wednesday, as the Association believes that the May resolution of the Supreme Court violates the Council Directive of April 5, 1993 on unfair terms in consumer contracts.

The association wrote in a complaint to the European Commission that the resolution of this issue by the Supreme Court “unambiguously gratifies entrepreneurs who use illegal contract provisions in their relations with consumers, thus violating consumer rights, and also” encouraging “entrepreneurs to use unfair provisions in contracts with consumers by minimizing the legal and financial consequences (no so-called ‘chilling effect’, which was mentioned many times in the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union) “.

– The resolution of the Supreme Court even encourages the use of abusive clauses in loan agreements, because it has the force of a legal principle and applies not only to previously concluded but also to future agreements. The logical consequence of this resolution is the deliberate use of illegal provisions, because this delays the start of the limitation period for claims against the client – assessed Arkadiusz Szcześniak.

As he added, the Association plans to present its arguments to the representatives of the European Commission during a meeting at the consumer department at the European Commission. – We have already had several meetings with the European Commission in similar cases. We know that for several months now there has been an exchange of letters between the European Commission and the Polish government regarding our complaint against court judgments contrary to EU law. Unfortunately, these letters are classified, so we do not know what they refer to. However, we had the impression that the questions posed by the first president of the Supreme Court could be the result of a complaint by the Association, because when the Polish government had to present the first response to the intervention of the European Commission, these questions appeared at that moment – he pointed out.

Swiss franc loans – limitation period

According to Szcześniak, if the European Commission complies with the Association’s request, it may call the Polish state to undertake specific actions to ensure that EU regulations are applied. – In the current legal situation, changing the resolution of the Supreme Court composed of seven judges – as was the case in May – is possible by issuing a different resolution also composed of seven members or by the full composition of the Civil Chamber. It is also possible to change the legal status, for example to clarify these provisions and specify how the limitation period should be calculated in such a situation – he explained.

According to SBB, it would be a good solution to count the limitation period for the bank’s claims against the customer until the customer questions the claim and, for example, submits a complaint to the bank questioning the provisions of the contract. – Banks have many possibilities to secure their claim within three years and bring an action to interrupt this period – said the president of the Stop Banking Lawless Association.

Szcześniak also emphasized that the State Treasury is financially responsible for issuing judgments contrary to EU law. – If, as a result of such a court judgment, less money is returned to the client, the difference is made from the Treasury, not the bank, so it would be good for the state to interpret these provisions correctly – he said.

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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