A high fine for Cyfrowy Polsat for removing German channels during Euro 2016

CP 2020

There is a decision by UOKiK.

The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection stated that Cyfrowy Polsat hindered its subscribers watching matches for free during the European Football Championship, which lasted from 10 June to 10 July 2016. The company then removed the public ZDF and Das Erste channels from the automatic list of programs on decoders.

It is worth recalling that the games were shown on closed channels Polsat Sport 2 and Polsat Sport 3. To follow them, you had to pay 79 usd, buy the IPLA 2016 package for 99 usd or extend the contract with Cyfrowy Polsat for 24 months. The broadcasts of all meetings were also broadcast by the publicly available German channels ZDF and Das Erste. Until 16 June 2016, until 14.30 it was enough to dial 470 and 471 on Cyfrowy Polsat decoders to receive them. However, on the seventh day of Euro 2016, half an hour before the England-Wales match, the company removed these channels from the automatic program list.

ZDF and Das Erste channels are available to the public, i.e. they can be viewed if we have a decoder adapted to receive satellite signals. Although they were not the offer of Cyfrowy Polsat, they were chosen on the decoder on the same terms as the channels guaranteed by Cyfrowy Polsat. ZDF and Das Erste were still available after they were removed from the automatic Polsat set-top boxes menu, but they had to be set manually by entering the appropriate parameters. However, Cyfrowy Polsat did not inform consumers about this possibility.

– Lack of reliable information about the changes introduced and about alternative ways of gaining access to ZDF and Das Erste channels caused confusion for consumers. Many of them may not know that they can still watch match broadcasts for free. Therefore, they could spend money unnecessarily. Our decision is to be a signal for entrepreneurs that such actions are unacceptable – says Marek Niechciuk, president of UOKiK.

The Office stated that Cyfrowy Polsat used practices infringing collective consumer interests. The penalty for the company is almost usd 35 million (usd 34 918 515). In addition, Cyfrowy Polsat must inform UOKiK of its decision on its website.

Source: UOKiK