The Polish Consumer Credit Act: Changes in the Way of Advertising Consumer Credit

We all know that the primary purpose of advertising is to encourage the consumer to purchase a particular product or service, but in the case of services such as bank credit, the issue of reliable information becomes extremely important. The requirements for advertising consumer credit have been regulated for some time now in Polish law.

Couple of years ago, to protect the consumers the Polish lawmaker decided to create a separate legal act concerning only this type of financial contract. The Consumer Credit Act from 12 May 2011 (published in Dz. U. of 2016 r. item. 1528 with subsequent changes) (“CCA”) regulates also the legal aspects of the advertisements of consumer credits.

The CCA in art. 7 section 1 obliges
banks to inform consumers about the cost aspects of the credit offer in an unambiguous, visible and understandable manner (Article 7 section 1).

Basically, what it means, is that the CCA defines what must be on every billboard, in a press release, a TV spot, the Internet ad or a radio message that encourages a consumer to take a loan or a credit. In other words, the consumer should be informed about the most important elements that comprise the cost of the credit and the actual annual rate of interest, and the simulation is based not on the idealized set of assumptions, but on the so-called. a representative example. This example reflects the typical circumstances for most contracts, including the repayment period and the amount borrowed.

In practice, however, it turned out that the banks were able to find the way around the above mentioned provisions. As it turned out the most important information from the consumer’s point of view usually were find at very bottom of the column in the newspaper, the Internet ad, billboard or at the end of the radio or television spot.

But now it has changed. The new regulations came into force on 22 October 2017, Articles 7a and 7b were added to the current wording of the CCA. According to article 7a of the CCA information referred to in art. 7 (all information), shall be provided to the consumer in the least visible, legible and audible manner as the cost of consumer credit.

This provisions actually forces banks to change the way of advertising their services. What it means is that to advertise consumer loans or credits containing figures (eg, interest rates - including "zero"), bank's advertisements will have to include all required information "in the least visible, legible and audible manner as the consumer credit cost data”.

However, article 7b of the CCA states that in case of advertisements related to consumer credit other than specified in Article 7 paragraph 1 (i.e. advertisement containing data on the cost of consumer credit), that is to say ads without figures, banks are obliged to provide the consumers only with an actual rate of interest, which however shall be provided to the consumer in the least visible, legible and audible manner as the other information provided in the advertisement.

These changes, by imposing more detailed obligations on banks in the field of advertising are, in principle, worthy of approval. However it should be noted that now, banks will probably change the tone of their ads, because instead of giving more detailed ads with figures (article 7a of the CCA), they will prefer ads with references to more descriptive terms (article 7b of the CCA).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nina Krajewska
Nina Krajewska is a lawyer at Lewandowski Gradek Lewandowska sp p r pr.

Copyright Lewandowski Gradek Lewandowska IPLaw Office
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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