Competition and consumer protection law
Competition and consumer protection
We provide legal assistance in administrative proceedings in the field of competition and consumer protection and unfair competition practices. Our advice covers restrictive practices consisting in the abuse of a dominant position or entering into uncompetitive agreements. We also deal with legal issues in the field of control of concentrations between undertakings, and acts of unfair competition.
Judicial and administrative proceedings
We offer legal representation in court proceedings in the field of competition protection law and consumer rights, as well as in antitrust and explanatory proceedings before the President of the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection. Our legal assistance includes analysis of the legal status of a given case, preparation of pleadings and representation of the client before a court or authority. We negotiate court and out-of-court settlements.
Unfair competition practices
The experience of our lawyers in this area of law allows us to effectively and comprehensively support entrepreneurs in disputes with competitors over practices considered to be acts of unfair competition. The Law Firm has on many occasions represented its clients in court and out-of-court disputes aimed at obtaining compensation from competitors using such practices.
Loans denominated in and indexed to other foreign currencies
In the field of unfair practices of the financial market, the most important sphere of the Law Firm’s practice at present consists in representing clients in disputes with banks concerning loans denominated in Swiss francs (currently several dozen trials are in progress). At present, there is no doubt that the common practice of banks to set exchange rates for converting loans indexed denominated according to own exchange rate tables, which were freely determined by banks on the basis of unspecified criteria, was prohibited. So far, despite numerous court rulings, including by the European Court of Justice and the Supreme Court, there is no uniform jurisprudence on the effects of the use of prohibited contractual terms by banks. Two possible solutions are currently being adopted:
1) nullity of the loan agreement, which entails the necessity of mutual return of benefits between the customer and the bank, i.e. in principle, return by the customer of the entire loan granted in zlotys without interest, reduced by the instalments paid, and if the instalments exceed the nominal amount of the loan – return of the surplus by the bank to the customer;
2) the so-called loan conversion – conversion as for a PLN loan with an interest rate as for a foreign currency loan, i.e. LIBOR + margin, return by the bank of the overpayment (usually of a significant amount) and continuation of the repayment until the end of the credit period with significantly reduced instalments.
Both solutions entail a significant reduction of credit burdens for bank customers, although the scale of benefits and possible additional complications may vary depending on the specific situation. Although in the light of the ECJ case law it seems that it is the client who should decide which of the above options should be chosen, sometimes the Polish courts accept only one of these solutions as appropriate. As a result, it is important to properly formulate the claim and conduct the case in such a way that the client receives a favourable judgement, regardless of the final position of the court in the case.
This also applies to loans denominated and indexed to other foreign currencies. Apart from the Swiss franc loans, the Law Firm has experience in representing its clients in disputes with financial institutions concerning fraudulent charging of additional loan cost (insurance), extortion of funds by bank employees and compensation from financial institutions for extortion of funds by hackers.
Unfair practices of financial institutions
Our lawyers have knowledge and experience in pursuing claims related to the acquisition of financial products not matching the needs and financial capabilities of the buyers. Most often, they concern misselling on the Polish financial services market. Misselling is most often related to a group of bancassurance products occurring in the form of various financial instruments integrated into packages of banking and insurance services, e.g. deposits with life insurance, i.e. the so-called policy-investments. The missold services are of low value to the consumer, who is knowingly misled by incomplete or even false information on the purchase and functioning of the instruments purchased.
We are pursuing cases for the annulment of such contracts.
We advise consumers on their rights under the Consumer Rights Act, abusive clauses, unfair market practices, warranties and guarantees, as well as distance and off-premises sales.