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UOKiK: explanatory proceedings in chains regarding multi-item sales (Biedronka, Lidl, Kaufland, Żabka, Dino, Netto, Carrefour, Auchan)

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According to the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK), information about so-called multi-item sales promotions conducted by retail chains may not be legible to customers. Therefore, explanatory proceedings are being carried out in Biedronka, Lidl, Kaufland, Żabka, Dino, Netto, Carrefour and Auchan.

Retail chains – as stated in the letter of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) – they often print the promotional price in large font on the label, while in smaller print they inform that the lower rate applies only when the customer buys two or three pieces of the product. Also, the unit price, for a single item, is much less visible to the consumer. Currently – as indicated by the press office of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection – explanatory proceedings are being carried out, which “were initiated based on our own market observation, as well as signals from consumers.”

Explanatory activities are carried out in Biedronka, Lidl, Kaufland, Żabka, Dino, Netto, Carrefour and Auchan chains.

Explanatory proceedings in chains regarding multi-item sales

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According to the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, the price of a product for one item is of key importance for the consumer because he has the right to buy a single product, and not only in the promotion of the so-called multi-piece. “We should make a decision to purchase a given product based on it. The price cannot be misleading, it must be clear to the consumer. If we believe that this is not the case, we can submit a notification directly to the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, the Consumer Ombudsman or the Trade Inspection,” wrote the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. in a letter provided to PAP.

From January 1, 2023, the provisions of the Omnibus Directive are in force in Poland, requiring entrepreneurs to “disclose, in addition to the price of the good or service, information about the lowest price of the good or service that was in force in the period of 30 days before its introduction.” The announcement on the Office’s website states that the seller should present the lowest price in a clear way that does not raise any doubts for the consumer, regardless of whether it is a percentage or amount reduction. It was emphasized that information about the lowest price from 30 days before the discount should be included wherever the entrepreneur informs about discounts for a specific product – e.g. in an advertisement, next to the product on the store shelf, on a display, in a retail chain’s leaflet, during conditional sales, in the loyalty program, in search results in the online store and on the card of a specific article. It was added that if the entrepreneur informs about the discount several times – at different stages of purchase – then each time he should also provide the lowest price from 30 days before the promotion, so that it can be compared to the current discount at any time.

Penalties, fines – amount

Entrepreneurs who do not comply with the provisions of the directive are threatened with, among others: financial penalties. The price list of penalties opens with a fine provided for in the Petty Offenses Code. Failure to fulfill the information obligation may be treated as an offense which, in accordance with Art. 139b of the Petty Offense Code is punishable by a fine of up to PLN 5,000. zloty.

Another penalty may be imposed by the Provincial Inspectorate of Trade Inspection. Such a fine may be up to PLN 20,000. PLN, but recidivists will be punished more severely. If an entrepreneur fails to fulfill his obligations at least three times within a period of 12 months counted from the date of the first breach of disclosure obligations, the fine for individual failures may increase up to PLN 40,000. PLN – reported the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.

Moreover, when a given company does not fulfill the information obligation related to price reductions, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection may consider such a practice as violating the collective interests of consumers. Entrepreneurs may be subject to a fine of up to 10% for failing to provide reliable, complete and true information. the turnover achieved by a given company in the financial year preceding the year in which the penalty was imposed.

The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection may also punish managers for such a violation. Such a penalty may amount to up to PLN 2 million and, in the case of capital companies, may be imposed directly on members of the management board.

Main photo source: BartlomiejMagierowski/Shutterstock



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