Penalty for terminating the loan agreement as an attempt to bypass the anti-usury act? Roughly UOKIK assessed Serratum’s conduct.
We can talk about the attempt because the office finally imposed a fine on the lender. The litany of accusations did not end with this one, so the amount of the financial penalty seems to be strangely embarrassing.
For what punishment UOKiK
As we all know, parabanks often use legal loopholes so that their clients pay the largest possible amount for a loan. Fees for commission, loan, acceptance, etc. were collected. However, the Serratum Finance loan company was punished by UOKiK for its practices.
A penalty for terminating a loan contract, that’s how Serratum earned
Serratum Finance in a very clever way reaped financial benefits through penalties for termination of the contract, but in turn. Serratum throughout Poland, grants loans to people with financial difficulties, however, the conditions for obtaining a loan are quite difficult to meet. The company terminated contracts and earned fines for not having collateralized within three days. However, the company was not only punished for that. Serratum’s other negative practice was to require third party sureties or to establish a mortgage. The penalty for the consumer could be the amount of 2 thousand USD, and even half the interest for the entire loan. As UOKiK noted, the penalty was too high, especially sinceit was impossible to obtain the required sureties in such a short time.
“The company set the time for establishing the security in such a way that it was known in advance that it was impossible. The company’s basic income was fines imposed on borrowers. It is unfair, unreliable and unethical”
Other prohibited practices at Serratum
As it happens in life, something will always come out during control. In this case, after careful analysis by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, other unlawful practices used by Serratum came to the light of day:
- failure to comply with information obligations – the company did not provide a withdrawal form or a form that would allow the client to compare offers from various financial institutions, it also included incorrect information in its contracts that it was not subject to the provisions of the Consumer Credit Act,
- the amount of commission was not included in the Annual Real Interest Rate (APRC), in effect reducing the cost of loans granted,
- the company also issued bills of exchange without a mandatory “not to order” clause.
Serratum Finance was profit-oriented (which is not surprising), however, with methods that can be considered inelegant (which is surprising in the case of such a company). “It was happening from the very beginning for too short a time to meet the security, and ended with the issuing of a promissory note, because the consumer did not pay a high penalty,” emphasizes the President of UOKiK.
A severe penalty for Serratum – not this time
After identifying all irregularities, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection imposed a fine on Serratum. The state treasury is to be enriched by $ 81,160.00 for violation of collective consumer interests and the use of prohibited clauses. For companies of this type, it can be considered that the punishment is not too severe. Serratum Finance has also been obliged to inform its clients about all practices and clauses that have been deemed prohibited. The company has ceased to use actions questioned by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, but most likely it results only from the fact that it changed its business profile.