Polski Prąd i Gwith a 10 million PLN fine from UOKiK
Polski Prąd i Gaz (former Polska Energetyka PRO) was penalized by the President of the Office of Competition and Customer Protection (UOKiK) with a fine in the amount of 10 million PLN. It is suspected that company representatives were pretending to be the current electricity provider.
Polski Prąd i Gaz, previously a member of the Financial Assets Management Group capital group (whose members are also Telekomunikacja dla Domu and Tele-Polska) is one of around 460 entities selling electricity in Poland.
As the Office of Competition and Customer Protection discovered during the inquiry, the company were acquiring clients dishonestly. Electricity sales agreements are concluded by door-to-door salespeople at consumers’ houses. Due to the fact that most of the clients of Polski Prąd i Gaz are seniors, it was easy for salespersons, through holding back information, to lead to a situation in which the clients would sign agreements without knowing they are changing their electricity supplier.
Salespeople, when providing documents for signing, suggested they constituted an annex to the agreement with the previous electricity supplier or that they are required by amendments to legal provisions. According to UOKiK findings, consumers were pressured by being told they will lose electricity if they do not sign the agreement. What is more, information on lower bills was manipulated, as consumers were not informed e.g. about the obligation to pay a monthly trade fee.
Inquiry proceedings were carried out from September 2015. According to Marek Niechciał, the President of UOKiK, that was the case of consumers’ trust being abused. The institution protecting consumers received over 500 complaints about the actions of Polski Prąd i Gaz. Complaints were also submitted to Energy Regulatory Office (URE). UOKiK imposed a fine in the amount of 10 253 328 PLN on the company and reminded that energy receivers may rely on free-of-charge help from consumer organisations and advocates.