– We consistently eliminate pathologies that occur during trade shows, often victims of which are seniors. Punished entrepreneurs – which is particularly reprehensible – took advantage of consumers’ health concerns or manipulated prices in order to make the purchase necessary or attractive. They also misled about the inability to withdraw from the contract or used prohibited clauses that made it difficult to terminate the contract – says Tomasz Chróstny, President of UOKiK.
Decisions on imposing penalties concern four entrepreneurs and a member of the management board of one of these companies.
A fine of PLN 433,570 was imposed on MAGFORTE with its registered office in Łęki, and a member of its one-person management board with a fine of PLN 250,000. zloty. In this case, the President of UOKiK, for the first time, exercised his power to impose a fine on the manager responsible for infringing consumer rights. – A manager who intentionally committed unfair practices towards consumers should be personally responsible for it. That’s why I decided to impose 250,000. PLN fine for the sole member of the MAGFORTE management board. He approved the content of leaflets with invitations to research, trained traders and supervised the way they conducted demonstrations – explains Chróstny.
The MAGFORTE company organized demonstrations where it sold magnetotherapy devices. At the same time, it misled consumers as to the main purpose of the meeting, inviting them to the “Cardiovascular Scan”, which gave the impression of information about non-commercial medical research. The second offense concerned misleading consumers as to their health in order to persuade them to buy expensive devices that were to be a remedy for all ailments. The “research” was carried out with the use of an instrument that is not a medical device, and the test results were interpreted by traders, i.e. people without medical education.
Another punished person was an entrepreneur running a business under the name of Panaceum Zdrowia in Jelenia Góra. The fine is PLN 18,369. The entrepreneur arranged for consumers to attend shows organized by MAGFORTE. The allegation made by the President of UOKiK concerned the failure to inform consumers about the commercial purpose of the meetings. Consumers who called the number in the leaflet were suggested by telemarketers that they were dealing with a medical facility hotline and signed up for tests. During the talks with the “nationwide registration”, consumers were even informed about contraindications and diet recommendations before the test, but did not inform about the commercial purpose of the meeting.
Penalties were also imposed on GERIAMEDICA in Warsaw – PLN 138,444 for prohibited clauses and PLN 46,148 for non-cooperation with the President of the Office. UOKiK received many complaints against a company that sold medical packages for up to PLN 14.2 thousand at meetings with consumers. zloty. The penalties imposed related to prohibited clauses in contracts.
GERIAMEDICA reserved the right to change the list of facilities where the medical package can be used, but consumers could not resign from its services without incurring costs. Meanwhile, for the elderly, a clinic close to home or with good access could be one of the reasons for purchasing a package. In addition, the company automatically extended the contracts if the consumer had not declared to resign from the package three months earlier. The third prohibited clause contained high contractual penalties for consumers who wanted to terminate a contract several years earlier, even if they had paid in advance for its entire duration. On the other hand, the company did not provide for any penalties in the event of failure to comply with the contract.
A fine of PLN 30,000 PLN was imposed on a woman running a business under the name HOMEXPERT in Gorzów Wielkopolski, who organized shows at consumer homes, during which she sold household appliances and massage devices. The first charge against the dishonest saleswoman concerned fictitious promotions. The woman would give customers catalog prices that she had never sold and then offered a discount to make the purchase more attractive. She herself bought the products offered to consumers many times cheaper. For example, according to the list price, a vacuum cleaner cost 5.9 thousand. PLN, and in the alleged “promotion” – 2.9 thousand. PLN, which was a high breakthrough in the actual price of the product. The second unfair practice concerned misleading consumers as to the inability to withdraw from the contract.