Value of the court litigations, as at 31.12.2019, in which the companies of the Group were a plaintiff, totalled PLN 306.4 million.
On January 3 2018, Bank Millennium received decision of the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKIK), in which the President of UOKIK found infringement by the Bank of the rights of consumers. In the opinion of the President of UOKiK the essence of the violation is that the Bank informed consumers (it regards 78 agreements) in responses to their complaints, that the court verdict stating the abusiveness of the provisions of the loan agreement regarding exchange rates does not apply to them. According to the position of the President of UOKiK the abusiveness of contract’s clauses determined by the court in the course of abstract control is constitutive and effective for every contract from the beginning. As a result of the decision, the Bank was obliged to:
- send information on the UOKiK’s decision to the said 78 clients,
- place the information on decision and the decision itself on the website and on Twitter,
- to pay a fine amounting to PLN 20.7 mln.
The decision of the President of UOKIK is not final. The Bank does not agree with this decision and lodged an appeal within the statutory time limit.
On January 7, 2020, the first instance court dismissed the Bank’s appeal in its entirety. The court presented the view that the judgment issued in the course of the control of a contractual template (in the course of an abstract control), recognizing the provisions of the template as abusive, determines the abusiveness of similar provisions in previously concluded contracts. Therefore, the information provided to consumers was incorrect and misleading. As regards the penalty imposed by UOKiK, the court pointed out that the policy of imposing penalties by the Office had changed in the direction of tightening penalties and that the court agrees with this direction.
In the Bank’s assessment, the Court should not assess the Bank’s behaviour in 2015 from the perspective of today’s case-law views on the importance of abstract control (it was not until January 2016 that the Supreme Court’s resolution supporting the view of the President of UOKiK was published), nor should it impose penalties for these behaviours using current policy. The above constitutes a significant argument against the validity of the judgment and supports the appeal which the Bank intends to make to the Court of second instance.
The verdict issued on January 7 is not final. The bank will appeal to the court of second instance. According to current estimates of the risk of losing the dispute, the Bank has not created a provision.
The Bank (along with other banks) is also a party to the dispute with UOKiK, in which the President of UOKiK recognized the practice of participating banks, including Bank Millennium, in an agreement aimed at jointly setting interchange fee rates charged on transactions made with Visa and Mastercard cards as restrictive of competition, and by decision of 29 December 2009 imposed a fine on the Bank in the amount of PLN 12.2 million. Case is pending, the Bank has created a reserve in the amount equal to the penalty imposed.