The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection decided that Canal+ Cyfrowy sp. z o.o. had committed an unfair commercial practice that consisted in informing the consumers about the intended amendments to the subscription contract by placing the amendments in the subscribers' magazine. According to the President, this violated Art. 5 sec. 1, combined with Art. 4 sec. 1 and 2 of the Polish Act on Unfair Commercial Practices.
In the opinion of the President, such practice distorts or is likely to distort the economic behavior of the average consumer whom it reaches or to whom it is addressed.
In determining the unfair character of the practice, the President pointed out the following.
The President assumed that although the content of the information on the planned amendments did not raise concerns, the manner in which it was conveyed to the customers did raise some. The President came to the conclusion that the customers could have been misled due to the manner in which they had been informed about the upcoming amendments to the subscription contract. As a result of the actual lack of information on the planned amendments, they were deprived of their right to terminate the contract. The President emphasized that the mere delivery of a standard form does not automatically mean that the addressee was given the possibility to easily familiarise himself with it. In the given circumstances, the delivery should be effected in a separate and clear form which enables the customer to become aware of the planned amendments to the contract.
The President stated that even a cautious and prudent customer, acting on a best effort basis, should not and does not have to expect that information on amendments in the subscribers' contracts would be placed in a monthly magazine. The customer usually expects that any information on the amendments will be provided to him so that even without examining in detail whether the contract is changed in favour of the customer or not, he is given the possibility to terminate the contract. This was strengthened in the case at hand by the fact that, in the past, the defendant used to inform its customers about planned amendments through a separate letter.
In determining the fact that the defendant's practice violated the collective interest of the consumers, the President indicated that the collective interest of consumers does not need to refer to an unlimited number of consumers which cannot be individualized, since the lack of individualization does not make it impossible to create a group of consumers who are characterised by the same feature. In the case at hand, the defendant violated the interest of a potentially unlimited group of consumers, i.e. all consumers, because potential customers could be exposed to the defendant's unfair practice.