Polish Distilleries under the microscope of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. It’s about the “Skarbiec Palikot” campaign

Luc Williams

According to the regulations, Polish Distilleries face a fine of up to 10%. turnover achieved in the year preceding the year in which the penalty was imposed for each of the six practices. The Office added that financial consequences may also be incurred by the manager, who may be subject to a fine of up to PLN 2 million for intentionally allowing violations of collective consumer interests.

Polish Distilleries built their credibility by providing misleading information

“The President of the Office questions the practices that took place as part of the ‘Skarbiec Palikot’ loan campaign,” the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection said. He added that from May to the end of June last year, the company offered consumers the opportunity to grant it an interest-bearing loan on seemingly exceptionally favorable terms, including the possibility of participating in the company’s future profit, and to take part in competitions with attractive prizes. As pointed out by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, the company also suggested, in an unauthorized manner, that it operated on the basis of crowdfunding, regulated by regulations (loan crowdfunding), collecting funds for investment purposes.

The President of the Office, Tomasz Chróstny, quoted in the announcement, recalled that the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection began to look into the case in May last year, i.e. when the “Palikot’s Treasury” campaign was launched. “We took actions based on our own market analysis, including a review of information available in social media. Our actions were supplemented by signals from consumers and material collected during an inspection carried out with the participation of the Office of the Polish Financial Supervision Authority at the entrepreneur’s headquarters. We also notified the prosecutor’s office in this matter in connection with with the possibility of committing a crime,” Chróstny added.

The Office explained that Polish Distilleries built their credibility and trust of potential investors by providing misleading information in advertisements, which appeared mainly on social media. “They informed about distinctions and awards of alcohol brands that did not actually belong to it. These included beer or wine brands: BUH, Koźlak. For this purpose, the company used phrases such as ‘our products’ and emphasized that wines and beers received special distinctions ‘We won 13 (!) medals’, illustrating it with graphic materials,” it was explained.

The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection also informed about the suspicions of the President of the Office regarding the company’s presentation of financial results of other entities (not involved in the “Palikot’s Treasury” campaign). According to the Office, they were intended to encourage potential investors to make payments. “As a result of such actions, consumers may have thought that they were dealing with a company with an established position,” it was noted.

There were supposed to be prizes, but there were no prizes

In the opinion of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, the company encouraged loans at high interest rates. “It stated that it wanted to make investments, including conquering the American alcohol market. At the same time, the company stipulated that the money would not be used to repay debts, and also informed about its good financial condition,” it was reported.

As noted, information collected by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection shows that “already within a few weeks of the launch of the campaign, the entrepreneur stopped executing loans concluded with consumers on time.” “In addition, instead of investing the funds collected as part of the campaign as promised, the company allocated them to the company’s current debt resulting from contracts concluded with other companies. If consumers had known from the beginning about this purpose of the accumulated capital, they might not have loaned the money to the company,” it said. .

According to the Office, potential investors were to be attracted by attractive prizes announced by the company’s manager on his social media. As indicated, it was an online competition in which you could win trips, e.g. to Marrakech, New York and Paris, as well as a luxury car – Rolls Royce Ghost. To take part in the competition, you had to pay a minimum of PLN 499 and come up with names for the company’s alcoholic products.

“UOKiK found that the winners of the competition were not selected and none of the prizes were awarded. At the same time, neither Polskie Distylarnie nor the company’s managers owned the car – it was leased. The failure to award prizes, despite previous assurances in marketing communications, is one of the most serious unfair market practices provided for in the regulations,” it was explained.

author: Michał Boroń


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