usd 50 million fine for Plus. The operator wrongly charged for streaming video

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Plus punishment

UOKiK again in action.

UOKiK closely monitors the activities of telecommunications companies and regularly responds to notifications from consumers. This time it got hit Polkomtel.

The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection received a notification from the consumer that Polkomtel (operator of the Plus network) added him fees for video streamingeven though he had purchased an internet package. The proceedings against the operator were initiated at the end of December 2018.

– In the course of the proceedings, we confirmed that subscribers could not fully benefit from the package because they incurred unjustified fees. Many people concluding the contract were convinced that they would be able to use the purchased data transmission – says Marek Niechciuk, the president of UOKiK.

UOKiK emphasizes that we buy Internet access on a different basis than to television, where we can only watch the channels listed in the contract as part of the package. The internet packet is the amount of data used (e.g. 5 GB, 20 GB, unlimited offer), and the number and type of pages that we can view are unlimited. Under it, the consumer should be able to use all types of data transmission without additional charges, and traders should not limit it.

UOKiK's activities concern the offers: Safe internet, Unlimited internet and Non stop package. The Office found that consumers could not fully use them, since Polkomtel from 2013 charged additional fees for the so-called video streaming, i.e. listening to online radio, watching online movies or video content. It was 40 groszy per minute of transmission.

According to the office, subscribers should have access to all portals as part of their package. This is due to the so-called open internet – every consumer should be able to use all of his resources on equal and non-discriminatory terms.

Additional charges were not specified on the invoice – they were listed under: Calls and SMSes made in the country. Such action was misleading to consumers, because it was only when someone analyzed the billing that he realized that he had to pay for multimedia services. This practice was applied from 2013 to 2017 and was discontinued.

The President of UOKiK stated that Polkomtel violated the collective interests of consumers and imposed a fine over usd 50 million (usd 50 634 687). The company must also publish a statement on its website and in its social media along with a link to the office's decision. Decision is not valid, the operator may appeal against it to the court. Each consumer may refer to the decision of UOKiK and file a complaint demanding a refund of fees.

Source: UOKiK