Consumer-oriented policy is one of the most important pillars in the Strategy of the President of the Office of Electronic Communications. Experts in the Consumer Information Centre of UKE gave almost 18,000 pieces of advice over the telephone and UKE intervened with the operators in almost 7,000 cases, 65% of which were considered with a positive outcome for consumers.
The Office of Electronic Communications pursues many different activities in favour of consumers, e.g. it considers numerous requests for intervention with service providers and conducts mediation between undertakings and service users. It also undertakes information and education initiatives implemented by the Consumer Information Centre and performs inspections of telecommunications undertakings.
The activities of the Office of Electronic Communications in the area of consumer protection bring tangible effects in the form of increased awareness of rights available to the users of telecommunications services - Magdalena Gaj, the President of the Office of Electronic Communications, stresses.
- Consumers more and more frequently choose to enforce their rights and ask us to intervene with an operator or submit requests for mediation. According to our estimates, we "recovered" more than 1.3 million PLN for consumers in 2013 as a result of interventions and mediation proceedings taken by UKE.
The number and type of telecommunications services available in the Polish market is gradually increasing with complex provisions in the rules and regulations, tariff pages and promotions being incomprehensible for the clients. An inspection carried out by UKE last year revealed that 92% of telecommunications undertakings applied standard contracts for the provision of telecommunications services that were inconsistent with the applicable provisions of law.
Irregularities resulting from unfair practices of commercial representatives and lack of prudence on the part of consumers. The scale of these phenomena is very high, which is confirmed by the number of requests for intervention with service providers submitted by aggrieved consumers to the President of UKE.
In 2013, UKE received 6802 requests for intervention of the President of UKE, which required UKE, inter alia, to obtain detailed explanations from the service provider, to examine the facts and legal status of the case and even to intervene directly with an operator. Each time the experts of UKE had consumer interests in mind and were striving to reach a positive outcome of the case.
Milena Górecka, Head of the Consumer Policy Unit at UKE stresses: Most requests for intervention and inquires addressed to UKE were submitted electronically, although it is possible to do that in a traditional way. We encourage all consumers to use electronic means of communication due to their convenience, lack of additional costs and speed.
We remind you that in order to submit a request or an inquiry to UKE it is enough to use an electronic form.
A very good way to solve disputes between consumers and telecommunications operators is mediation
with almost 320
0 mediation proceedings completed last year. Nearly half of them, i.e. 48%
, concluded with a positive outcome for the subscribers
.The problems reported most frequently are:
- being misled by commercial representatives, including a suspicion of forgery (forged signatures on contracts);
- failure to meet by telecommunications undertakings the terms and conditions of service provision in the case of extended contracts;
- problems related to number portability when switching service providers;
- the quality of service, including lower than declared data transmission speed, lack of coverage and telecommunications network failures;
- the way of charging for the provision of telecommunications services;
- difficulties to get in touch with customer service departments.
The Consumer Information Centre
(CIK) at UKE has been operating for seven years. The experts at CIK reply every day to numerous questions on telecommunications services from consumers, initiate social and educational actions, offer advice and explain all doubts related to users' rights.
In 2013, the employees of the Consumer Information Centre answered some 18,000 telephone calls
The President of the Office of Electronic Communications initiates numerous social actions primarily aimed at educating users with respect to the rights available to them.
Many unfair practices concern the activities of unreliable commercial representatives towards elderly persons. In 2013, the Office of Electronic Communications, supported by UKE regional offices and voivodeship consumer advocates, continued its prevention programme and an information campaign under the title "Trust but verify"
. Its purpose is to support the subscribers and to counteract unfair practices of commercial representatives.
Meetings organized as part of this campaign are held periodically in the entire country. In 2013, the experts of UKE held 32 face-to-face meetings with consumers.The certificates of the President of UKE
Another important element of consumer-oriented policy of UKE is the certification programme for telecommunications services
. The programme is aimed at supporting equal and effective competition in the provision of telecommunications services and first of all to ensure consumer protection to the broadest degree. The certificates of the President of UKE are granted for the following categories: Safe Internet, No Barriers, Senior and Offer Comparison Website. In early 2014, Magdalena Gaj, the President of UKE, granted certificates of the President of UKE for 2014 to the following entities:
- Orange Polska S.A. and UPC Polska Sp. z o.o. - in the Safe Internet category;
- Centernet S.A. - in the Senior category;
- FOSET Paweł Szubczyński - in the Offer Comparison Website category.
We invite all consumers to use our advice and to contact the Consumer Information Centre at UKE:
The most important information on protection of consumer rights and the rights and obligations of telecommunications undertakings were published in information brochures and leaflets and on the UKE (www.uke.gov.pl) and CIK websites (www.cik.uke.gov.pl). The materials include information on the following subjects:
- well-informed conclusion of contracts with operators;
- procedures for complaints about telecommunications services;
- Premium Rate SMS;
- the principles for porting telephone numbers to another operator's network;
- roaming charges for calls made within the European Union;
- certificates of the President of UKE.
- information line 801 900 853 (cost of a call in accordance with the operator's tariffs)
- 22 534 91 74 (Monday to Friday, from 8.15 to 16.15)