The President of the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection imposed on the owner of the Biedronka chain, d. H. The company Jeronimo Martins Polska, a fine of PLN 115 million. According to him, Biedronka has been violating consumer rights for several years by providing incorrect information about prices in stores. As a result, consumers were expected to pay more at the checkout.
- UOKiK fined the owner of the Biedronka chain PLN 115 million for incorrectly informing about prices in shops
- The office found that as of at least 2016, customers were paying more than what is advertised on shelves
- Biedronka believes that UOKiK̵
“”Price at the checkout higher than indicated on the shelf or no information about the price of the product – In this way, Biedronka has been violating consumer rights for several years “- announced UOKiK.
The Office’s results show that this practice has continued since at least 2016.
The Office for Competition and Consumer Protection received numerous consumer complaints and information from the Provincial Inspectorate of the Trade Inspection regarding incorrect price displays in Biedronka stores. Hundreds of signals were about higher prices at the counter than on the shelves or about missing prices for the goods. The complaints led to the initiation of proceedings against Jeronimo Martins Polska. During the visit, the Office President ordered inspections to be made by the Trade Inspectorate, which confirmed the extent of incorrect pricing information in JMP stores
– We read on. According to UOKiK, it was only the initiation of the procedure and inspections in late 2019 that helped take action to resolve this issue.
In addition, in the event of price differences on the shelf and at the checkout, the Biedronka branches must provide visible information about the rights of the consumer and say: “In the event of discrepancies or doubts about the price of the goods offered, the consumer has the right to cancel the sale of the goods for to ask him the cheapest price (Article 5 of the law of May 9, 2014 on information on the prices of goods and services) “.
UOKiK penalty for Biedronka. Customer complaints
In the announcement of the decision, UOKiK also gives examples of complaints from customers of the Biedronka network that have come about:
I wanted to buy a primrose for 2.89. And at the checkout it charged me 7.99. I asked the manager to explain and refund the amount overpaid. Unfortunately, he did not agree. I have been informed to call the store’s hotline.
On the pallet with the candles was a large piece of paper with the price of the candle. When buying two candles, the price was PLN 7.99 per item. A different price of PLN 12.99 per item was charged at the checkout. After getting the manager’s attention, she informed me that I could only return the candles I had bought.
The price indicated on the fridge in the store indicated that the price of Carte D’Or ice cream was 19 PLN 10.99 until August 31. The ice cream was on sale until that day and I bought it that day too (…). Unfortunately, after the payment, it turned out that the price of PLN 15.99 was deducted from the receipt.
UOKiK: The price is one of the most important criteria for the consumer
– Price is one of the most important criteria that consumers use when choosing products. It is unacceptable to mislead consumers about the correct price of the goods. For a long time at Biedronka, customers usually paid more than the price on the shelves. They were not always aware of this – says Tomasz Chróstny, President of UOKiK, quoted in the press release.
The Office reminds consumers what to consider when shopping in stores:
- Prices should be displayed on or near the goods, e.g. B. on a note on a shelf. The seller must inform about this clearly and in a visible place. If he gives them verbally or not at all, he is breaking the law.
- Compare how much similar products cost. This is facilitated by the so-called unit prices – per kilogram, liter, 100 grams, piece. The seller is obliged to make these available.
- If the price at the checkout is higher than the price on the item or shelf, you have the right to purchase the item at a lower price. If you only notice the difference on the receipt, request a refund for the overpaid amount. In such a situation it is good to have evidence, e.g. B. a photo of a sign on a store shelf and a receipt.
Biedronka surprised by the decision of the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection [OŚWIADCZENIE]
The decision of the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection on Biedronka is not final; the company can appeal to the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection. The press office of the owner of the Biedronka chain pointed out:
We were surprised to accept the decision of the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection We consider it undeserved and unfair in view of our commitment and our consistency in the policy of low prices for customers. These values have always been of crucial importance for Biedronka over the past 25 years and will remain so in the difficult and unprecedented times of the pandemic.
(…) Thanks to Biedronka, Poland has one of the most competitive retail markets and one of the lowest food prices in Europe. In the period from 2017 to July 2020, Polish families were able to save over PLN 17 billion thanks to advertising campaigns in the Biedronka network. In the March to July 2020 pandemic alone, these savings amounted to PLN 2.4 billion.
– We read in the statement to the editor. Jeronimo Martins Polska does not rule out the possibility of irregularities in the information about prices:
Taking into account the size of our network operations – over 3,000 stores, almost 70 thousand employees, over 4 billion customer visits in the period from 2017 to July 2020 – We cannot rule out individual cases where accidental human error has resulted in a price shortage or a non-immediate update. In the interests of our customers, we have taken decisive measures that go beyond market standards to reduce the number of such random errors. We can already see the positive effects of the implemented solutions.