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Bocian Pożyczki with a fine of more than pln 15 million - decision of President of UOKiK

< poprzedni | następny > 06.07.2023

Bocian Pożyczki with a fine of more than pln 15 million - decision of President of UOKiK
  • President of the UOKIK has imposed a fine of more than PLN 15 million on Everest Finanse SA, known as Bocian Pożyczki.
  • The company circumvented limits on non-interest consumer loan costs by also offering consumer leaseback agreements for household appliances and consumer electronics equipment to its loans in which it intermediated.
  • Consumers were not properly informed what financing they were receiving and what costs it involved. 

President of the UOKIK Tomasz Chróstny having conducted proceedings found a violation of the collective interests of consumers by the company Everest Finanse SA, operating under the name of Bocian Pożyczki. To customers in need of additional financing, the company offered - in addition to consumer loan - consumer leaseback agreements in the conclusion of which it acted as an intermediary for a related company with the same name - Everest Finanse sp. z o.o. sp. k. This involved household appliances, e.g. refrigerators, stoves, and consumer electronics, e.g. TVs, smartphones. The leased object was purchased from the consumer and immediately made available to them for further use for the period specified in the contract while the consumer was obliged to pay weekly lease payments thereon. The financing was provided partly in the form of a loan and partly in the form of a consumer leaseback. This form was used during the period when statutory limits on non-interest costs of consumer loan were reduced due to the pandemic while the costs associated with leasing were not capped. The combined financing model served to circumvent statutory limits, with the consequence that consumers had to pay very high installments. The other practice identified by the President of the UOKiK is the failure to properly inform consumers before entering into contracts about the terms of the financing provided.

Advisor visit and contract signing

During the home visits, Everest Finanse SA representatives signed three agreements with their existing customers: an annex to the loan agreement increasing the amount of the loan, an agreement for the sale of used household appliances or consumer electronics and a consumer leaseback agreement for the use of the equipment. Prior to entering into these agreements, consumers saw most of the documents related to the financing they were obtaining only on the screen of a customer advisor's tablet, on which they affixed their signature. This definitely made it difficult for them to know exactly what conditions they had to agree to. They were not clearly and unequivocally informed in a timely manner about the funding they were receiving and the costs of its individual components.

"The contract was drawn up on a tablet, I made a dozen signatures. I don't know what documents I signed because I was not provided with a tablet to read and print these documents - one consumer wrote in a complaint.

- The Everest Finanse company tried to circumvent the law that was supposed to protect consumers from falling into a debt trap during the hard times of the lockdown. It used an artificially created financing model based on borrowing and leasing household appliances, televisions, smartphones. In addition, the way the offer was presented made it difficult for consumers to get an idea of the terms of the contract before signing it and to make an informed decision based on reliable information. As a result, consumers were overpaying for financing that, knowing all the costs, they might not have opted for - says Tomasz Chróstny, president of the UOKIK.

Now that the Anti-Credit Act has been amended, setting limits on non-interest costs of consumer credit at a permanently lower level, the company has returned to intermediating consumer leasebacks and continues to provide non-transparent information about the terms and costs of financing provided under such a combined form.

Everest Finanse SA was fined more than PLN 15 million (PLN 15,058,790). The company will be required to publish, on its website and in social media, the information about the decision of the President of the UOKIK and provide a statement to affected consumers. The decision is not final. The company may appeal the decision to the court.

Consumers, before you take out a loan:

  • Check if the loan company or the credit broker is listed in a register maintained by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF).
  • Remember that you must obtain full product information before entering into a contract.
  • Read carefully what the contract is about: a loan, borrowing or lease, and whether it is consistent with what the representative of the lending institution or intermediary says. Read the terms of the contract and all its annexes.
  • Calculate the amount to be repaid and costs of the loan – both interest and costs arising from other commissions and fees. Remember that statutory limits do apply.

The maximum interest rates can be equal to twice the statutory interest rate calculated by adding 3.5 percentage points to the reference rate of the National Bank of Poland.

Non-interest expenses can be a maximum of 10% of the total loan amount plus 10% for each year of the loan, but no more than 45% of the total loan amount.

  • Be wary of agreements where a consumer lease is offered in addition to a loan, as the lessor may charge much higher costs than a consumer loan or a borrowing agreement.
  •  Compare the offers of different businesses. This is made easier by using the APR – annual percentage rate. It shows the loan cost specified as a percentage in relation to the total loan amount.
  • You can withdraw from the consumer loan contract within 14 days. In such a case, you are under an obligation to return interest for the period during which money were made available to you.
  • If you have any doubts or problems, please use free legal assistance.

 

Consumer Support:

Phone: +48 801 440 220 or +48 222 66 76 76 – consumer helpline
E-mail: porady@dlakonsumentow.pl
Consumer Ombudsmen – in your town or district
Financial Ombudsman – when a complaint has been rejected by a financial institution

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