The activities of Szybka Gotówka, Gwarant24 and Centrum Solutions Kredytowych raise objections from the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. The regulator’s doubts concern attempts to circumvent the provisions on the maximum non-interest cost of consumer loans in the case of loans for the repayment of previous liabilities. According to the Office, the companies have been charged with violating collective consumer interests.
As stated in the Monday’s announcement, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) received consumer complaints about loans granted via Szybkagotowka.pl and Freezl.pl portals, owned by the Compare Group from the United Arab Emirates. It cooperates with three loan companies from Warsaw: Szybka Gotówka, Gwarant24 and Centrum Solutions Kredytowych, which grant loans for a period of 1 to 30 days.
“According to consumer signals, if someone had problems with repayment on the original date, lenders offered refinancing in another company instead of extending the deadline. Sometimes such a scenario was repeated many times. Each of these companies charged a commission, which was financed in whole or in part by As a result, the amount to be repaid grew, “the information from UOKiK wrote.
The Office also provided examples of practices applied by these companies. For example, when a consumer borrowed PLN 4,300 and was unable to repay this amount, his loan was refinanced alternately in various companies.
The loan originator charged PLN 1,180.20 (with the maximum amount of PLN 1,181.03 permitted by law). Then the loan, which was partially repaid by the consumer, was serviced by another company and in the subsequent stages of rolling the costs were respectively: PLN 1,347.30, PLN 1,536 and PLN 1,752.90. Thus, after four months, due to commissions alone, the debt increased by nearly 6,000. PLN (PLN 5816.40).
Protection of borrowers
UOKiK indicated that, in accordance with the Consumer Credit Act, its non-interest costs may not exceed 25 percent. the borrowed amount plus 30 percent for each year of crediting, but not more than 100%. credit. As emphasized, these costs also include fees for extending the deadline.
“Moreover, if an entrepreneur grants a given person another loan or loans to repay the previous one within 120 days from the date of disbursement of the first financing, he must include in the limit of non-interest costs the sum of fees charged on all loans at that time. This solution is to prevent entrepreneurs from circumventing the statutory limits. costs, e.g. granting 4 loans for 1 month with a cost limit of 4 x 27.5 percent instead of 1 loan for 4 months with a cost limit of 35 percent. ” – described the Office.
In his opinion, the alternating refinancing of unpaid loans by companies operating on Szybkagotowka.pl and Freezl.pl could be an attempt to circumvent these provisions.
Charges of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection
“I have accused the companies Szybka Gotówka, Grawant24 and Centrum Solutions Kredytowych of violating collective consumer interests. In our opinion, the indicated entrepreneurs try to circumvent the restrictions on non-interest loan costs resulting from the Consumer Credit Act. As a result, they expose consumers to unlawful high fees and commissions, as well as risk of falling into a debt spiral. Entrepreneurs may be fined up to 10% of the annual turnover for this type of practice “- explained Tomasz Chróstny, President of UOKiK, quoted in the release.
As recalled in the Office’s information, in March 2021 the President of UOKiK brought similar charges against Warsaw companies (currently undergoing restructuring): Yes Finance, Liberis Polska, Duo Finance and Primus Finance. They also alternately provided loans to consumers who had problems with the repayment of previous liabilities. When collecting commission, these companies may have disregarded the limitations of the amount of non-interest costs of consumer loans. The proceedings are pending.
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