The company operating under the name of Bocian Pożyczki, while granting consumer loans, concluded leaseback agreements for household appliances and audio / video devices, as a result, borrowers had much higher amounts to be repaid than provided for in the regulations – the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection announced on Tuesday. The President of the Office brought charges against the company.
As reported by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK), Everest Finanse SA, operating under the name Bocian Pożyczki, brokered the conclusion of consumer loan leaseback agreements for a related company with the same name – Everest Finanse sp. Z oo sp. k.
Consumer complaints were received by UOKiK that together with the annexes to the loan agreement, they received a lease agreement for household appliances, e.g. refrigerators, cookers and RTV, e.g. TV sets or smartphones, which they were supposed to sell to a related company.
The Office cited a complaint from one of the consumers: “I concluded a loan agreement with Everest Finanse with a consumer leasing agreement. I received a total loan amount of PLN 2,000. However, there are provisions in the contract that I do not understand. Currently, despite my payments, the arrears are over PLN 4,000. Interest is growing very fast. I can’t even define them.
The President of UOKiK accused Everest Finanse SA of violating collective consumer interests. The first one concerns charging consumers with higher non-interest loan costs than allowed by the regulations.
The Office recalled that the limits of commissions and other fees charged to borrowers are set out in the Consumer Credit Act. He pointed out that during the pandemic, thanks to the initiative of the President of UOKiK, they were further reduced. As a result, from March 31, 2020 to June 30, 2021, non-interest costs of a consumer loan for loans lasting 30 days and longer could amount to a maximum of 15%. plus 6 percent for each year of the loan – i.e., for example, no more than 21 percent. total loan amount for a loan granted for a year. In addition, regardless of the duration of the loan, the level of non-interest costs could not exceed 45%. the total amount of the consumer loan.
As reported by UOKiK, consumers concluded three agreements with Everest Finance or through it: an annex to the loan agreement increasing the amount of the loan, an agreement for the sale by the consumer of household appliances or electronics used by the consumer, and a consumer leaseback agreement for the use of this equipment. Leasing resulted in very high costs for the consumer, collected together with the loan installments.
“Everest Finanse may have tried to circumvent the law to protect consumers so that they would not fall into a debt loop during the difficult times of lockdown by using reverse-lease agreements for household appliances, TVs and smartphones. In our opinion, a financing model based on two sources – loan and leasing – could have been created artificially. As a result, the borrowers had much higher amounts to be repaid than provided for in the regulations “- emphasized Tomasz Chróstny, President of UOKiK, quoted in the announcement.
The President of UOKiK also accused the company of the lack of clear and unambiguous information on the contracts signed and their costs. According to the complaints and findings of the Office so far, most of the signed documents were seen by consumers only on the tablet screen of the company’s representative, where they were supposed to sign them with a stylus.
“Consumers have an unquestionable right to clear and unambiguous information about the contract before signing it. Meanwhile, as a result of the actions of Everest Finanse, they may not have been aware of the amount of financing they received as a consumer loan, and what amounts from the sale of the leased asset. very high costs. If they knew that they were overpaying for the loan, they might not have decided on it “- noted Chróstny.
If the allegations are confirmed, Everest Finanse SA may face a fine of up to 10 percent. annual turnover – UOKiK reported (PAP)
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