The Chairman of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, Tomasz Chrostny, has opened proceedings against the company Polskie Destylarnie, which organized the credit campaign “Skarbiec Palikot”, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) announced.
The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) opened a case of violation of collective consumer interests against the company Polskie Destylarnie from Lublin. The head of the Competition and Consumer Protection Authority questions the practices that took place within the Skarbiec Palikot credit campaign. From May to the end of June last year, the company offered consumers the opportunity to issue it an interest-bearing loan on seemingly exceptionally favorable terms, including the opportunity to participate in the company’s future profits and participate in competitions with attractive prizes. At the same time, he unauthorizedly assumed that he was acting on the principle of crowdfunding (credit crowdfunding) regulated by regulations, collecting funds for investment purposes.
Treasury of Palikot. What is the head of the Competition and Consumer Authority accusing him of?
– Charges were brought against the Polskie Destylarnie company and the company manager responsible for such actions. We started working on this issue in May last year, that is, when the “Treasury of Palikot” campaign started. We took action based on our own market analysis, including a review of information available on social media. The activities were supplemented by consumer signals and materials collected during an inspection carried out in cooperation with the Polish Financial Supervisory Authority at the entrepreneur’s headquarters. In this case, we also notified the prosecutor’s office in connection with the possibility of committing a crime – explains the President of the Competition and Consumer Authority.
The authority emphasizes that Polish distilleries earned their reputation, authority and trust of potential investors by providing misleading information in advertisements that appeared mainly on social networks. They reported badges and awards from alcohol brands that were not actually hers. This includes, for example, brands of beer or wine: BUH, Koźlak. To do this, the company used phrases such as “our products,” emphasized that wines and beer received special awards, “We won 13 (!) medals,” illustrating this with graphic materials. The head of the Competition and Consumer Authority suspects that in order to entice potential investors to make payments, the company also presented the financial results of other entities not involved in the Palikot Treasury campaign. As a result of such actions, consumers may believe that they are dealing with a company with an established position.
– The company encouraged consumers to provide it with loans at high interest rates. She claimed that she wanted to invest, including conquering the American alcohol market. At the same time, the company stipulated that the money would not be used to pay off debts, and also reported its good financial condition. According to information collected by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, just a few weeks after the launch of the campaign, the entrepreneur stopped fulfilling loans concluded with consumers on time – informs the Competition and Consumer Protection Authority.
Moreover, according to the department, instead of investing the funds raised through the campaign, as promised, the company distributed the company’s current debt, which arose as a result of agreements concluded with other companies. If consumers had known about this purpose of the accumulated capital from the beginning, they might not have loaned the company money.
Fictional car – a prize in a competition
Potential investors should have been attracted by attractive prizes announced by the company manager on social networks. Polish Distilleries organized an online competition, the prizes of which included trips to Marrakesh, New York and Paris, as well as a luxury Rolls Royce Ghost passenger car. To join it, you had to pay a minimum of 499 zlotys and come up with the names of the company’s alcoholic products. The Office determined that no winners of the competition were selected and no prizes were awarded. At the same time, neither Polskie Distylarnie nor the company’s managers owned the car – it was rented. Failure to award prizes despite previous assurances in marketing communications is one of the most serious unfair market practices covered by the rules.
Polish distilleries face fines of up to 10%. turnover achieved in the year preceding the year in which the fine was imposed for each of the six violations. Managers, who face a fine of up to 2 million zlotys for deliberately violating the collective interests of consumers, may also suffer financial consequences.
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