Last September we informed our readers about an interesting report from BEUC summarizing the developments in law enforcement following the Dieselgate scandal. Last week a fine of over PLN 120 million (approx. EUR 28 million), imposed on Volkswagen Group Polska by the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection in Poland (UOKiK), was added to this list. The violations established by the decision (the operative part is available in Polish here) are anchored in the Polish provisions implementing Directive 2005/29/EC on unfair commercial practices (UCPD), specifically Art. 4(1), Art. 5(1), Art. 5(3)(2) of the Act on counteracting unfair market practices (Ustawa o przeciwdziałaniu nieuczciwym praktykom rynkowym). These correspond, respectively, with: the general clause on unfair commercial practices, the specific provision on misleading actions, specification on misleading actions related to the main characteristics of the product.
According to the press release, the President of the UOKiK contested following behaviours of the trader: disseminating false information in advertising materials which suggested that Volkswagen, Seat, Skoda and Audi cars were environmentally-friendly and met the requirements for nitrogen oxide emissions; providing incorrect nitrogen oxides emission parameters in EC certificates of conformity; issuing guidelines for sellers of these cars which suggested that consumers' complaints should not be taken into account.
Besides imposing a fine, the President of the UOKiK also obliged the trader to send a letter to the affected consumers and publish the content of the decision on its website. VW can appeal the decision to the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection (SOKiK) in Warsaw.