IICJ Paper Practical Aspects of Protection of Collective Consumer Interests – Overview of Measures Applied by the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection Marek Niechciał, President, Poland's Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, Poland

In Poland, protection of consumer interests and protection of competition has been entrusted to one institution, the one I am in charge of. The Polish Antimonopoly Office was established in 1990. Since the very beginning, when performing its activities it took into account the impact of monopolies on consumer welfare. Courts also identified the connection between protection of competition and safeguarding interests of consumers. In a 1991 judgment, the Supreme Court indicated that competition assessment of a market practice should be preceded with an analysis of the broader context, in particular, of its impact on consumers . However, it was not until 1996 when the Antimonopoly Office was transformed into the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, that protection of consumers’ interests was written into its mission as an indispensable element of the competitive order in the economy.
Marek Niechciał
Marek Niechciał
Marek Niechciał is a graduate of the University of Warsaw, where he studied economics. In the years 2007-2008 he was President of UOKiK, and from 2008 an advisor at the National Bank of Poland’s Economic Institute. In the years 2007-2012 he was a member and Deputy Chairman of the Statistical Council, an advisory body to the Prime Minister. He has been Deputy Director for Economic Affairs at the Department of the Committee of the Council of Ministers, and has worked, among others, with the Insurance and Retirement Fund Commission Office and at the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) Institute of Economics. He was has also worked as a journalist specialising in economic affairs. Marek Niechciał has experience in education, having been a lecturer among others at the L. Koźmiński University Business School, University of Finance and Management, and Warsaw School of Information Technology under the auspices of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN). He has co-authored Reports on Innovativeness of the Polish Economy (Raporty o innowacyjności gospodarki Polski) published by the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) Economics Institute, and an NBP publication, currently under preparation, Innovativeness of the Polish Economy (Innowacyjność polskiej gospodarki). Privately he has a passion for aviation. He is involved among other things in organising meetings of the Polish Aviation Technology Association (Polska Technika Lotnicza). Prime Minister Beata Szydło appointed Marek Niechciał President of UOKiK on 12 May 2016.
Poland's Office of Competition and Consumer Protection
The President of the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (President of UOKiK) is a central authority of the state administration. He reports directly to the Prime Minister and is appointed from amongst the persons selected by way of an open and competitive contest. The President of the Office is responsible for shaping the competition and consumer protection policy. The primary antitrust instrument used by the President of the Office are proceedings concerning competition restricting practices, i.e. abuses of a dominant position and prohibited agreements (cartels). The proceedings may end in a decision ordering the undertaking involved to cease the activities in question and pay a fine. The President of UOKiK is also authorised to control mergers in order to prevent situations where as a result of a merger a dominant entity is created on the market. The President of the Office has also the power to carry out proceedings concerning practices infringing collective consumer interests, which may lead a decision ordering the enterprise involved to cease the practices in question and pay a fine. Further consumer protection activities include ridding B2C contracts from prohibited clauses, i.e. contract terms setting forth consumers’ interests in a way that infringes the law or good practices. Since 2004 the President of UOKiK has been providing its opinion on state aid schemes and individual state aid decisions before their notification to the European Commission, which is the only body with the power to determine state aid’s compliance with the Single Market. What is more, to protect the health and life of consumers, the President of UOKiK carries out proceedings concerning general product safety. The President of the Office also monitors the market surveillance system, whose aim is to ensure that only safe products, which meet the essential requirements set forth in Polish regulations implementing the so-called New Approach Directives, are available on the market. UOKiK is also responsible for managing the fuel quality monitoring and scrutinising system.
Poland More
Area of Law
Competition More
Business Sector
Government More
Month Published
April 2017 More
Vol.10, No. 39, Spring 2017 More
    Go back to Library Search