The new president of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection plans to reinforce the regulator’s activity aimed at preventing negative market impacts. His priority will be elimination of harmful practices—not necessarily punishment. Proceedings are to be conducted faster and more efficiently. There will also be many internal changes at UOKiK.
One method companies have of dealing with the crisis is to cooperate with their rivals. But before entering into such cooperation, it is worth examining whether it constitutes a conspiracy subject to sanctions from the national competition authority, the European Commission or other antitrust bodies.
The president of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has declared war on sellers unfairly raising prices of products during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the instruments proposed by the regulator in combating this pathology is establishment by the Ministry of Development of maximum prices and margins on products essential from the perspective of consumers’ interests (a change included in the recent amendment to the Anti-Crisis Act). On this occasion it is worth reviewing the authority vested in the president of UOKiK to regulate product prices under current law.
The amendment to the Anti-Crisis Act includes proposals drafted by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK), intended to increase the financial security of households, ensure access to vital goods and services, and combat price speculation and unjustified increases.
In light of the difficulties associated with the coronavirus epidemic, and joining the global trend under the hashtag #flattenthecurve, competition authorities around the world, including Poland, are introducing, more or less officially, extraordinary operating procedures to avoid spreading the coronavirus. This can have a major impact on proceedings before these authorities, including filing and consideration of applications seeking approval of concentrations.
From 1 June 2020 the regulations on prohibited contractual provisions (abusive clauses), so far applicable only to consumers, will in certain situations also apply to sole traders. This change will generate many practical problems.