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POLAND: UOKiK & Anti-Crisis Shield
The Competition and Consumer Protection Office (UOKiK) has also become active in the works on the special package of bills dubbed as the Anti-Crisis Shield. Initially, President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny stated that the changes proposed to the set of regulations are meant to prevent price gouging in the case of most critical product categories. Several instances have already been recorded in Poland of price hikes for personal hygiene products or hand sanitizer. The most important of UOKiK’s proposals were meant to streamline controls and allow for the government to set maximum prices for critical products via regulation. Penalties of up to PLN 5 million and 10% of annual turnover have been proposed by the Office.
Still, the most controversial proposals came in regards to loans and consumer credits. UOKiK initially proposed a drastic cut for non-interest incomes on loans and a yearly ‘payment holiday’. Experts argue that this would effectively destroy the loan sector while Office representatives hoped to allow consumers liquidity through loans, for most pressing needs. Some commentators noted that the government and UOKiK have long-hoped to regulate the loan sector further. It remains to be seen which proposals remain in the package but Development Minister Emilewicz announced that the recommendation of a yearly payment holiday has already been cut from the regulations.