The financial intermediary EGF Council, offered loans to customers whose conditions did not suit their needs and repayment possibilities. The President of UOKiK stated that the company violated the collective interests of consumers and imposed a fine of over PLN 6.3 million.
The European Council Financial Group in Wrocław was a loan broker that operated under the Personal Finanse brand in approximately 50 cities in Poland. The offer was directed to people who had difficulties borrowing money at banks, credit unions and other financial institutions – the so-called loans without BIK, which are usually advertised on poles, stops, on the Internet.
The Office initiated proceedings
Against EGF Council in December 2016, and in February 2017 already warned against the activities of this company: ” UOKiK warns: The European Financial Group Council, acting as an intermediary, offers consumers loans whose terms do not meet their needs and repayment options, and using her services may involve the payment of high salary …
” Deciding on this warning (after very many customer complaints about this company), the President of UOKiK emphasized that “the company’s practices may cause significant financial losses and adverse effects for a wide range of consumers” .
The Office took action following consumer complaints
- EGF Council employees manipulated the information provided to consumers because they were motivated by profit – explains Marek Niechciuk, President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. – They urged them to borrow more money than they could pay back.
- The effect was that the client was in even bigger financial problems. These practices were very bad for consumers, which is why we imposed a heavy penalty.
Has stated that the financial intermediary of EGF Council, among others
- He offered consumers loans that did not suit their needs or repayment possibilities
Customers received an offer significantly exceeding the reported demand. They had doubts, but EGF Council representatives assured them that the offer was favorable, because “the surplus can be returned to the bank” , it is ” part of a broader plan aimed at clearing the credit history or improving creditworthiness”.
One of the consumers wrote: ” She said that the best loan for me is a loan of PLN 27,879.01 with an installment of PLN 600 per month, but that I don’t worry because I don’t have to use all the money that I can do so that I pay PLN 6,000 ( is the amount I needed ), 6,673.80 (for them in the form of a fee), and I can return the remaining approx. 15,000.00 to the bank and then it will do so that the monthly installment will be PLN 100 for 72 months. “
- He urged consumers without creditworthiness to enter into commitments through a third party , described as “a person who authenticates, supports, guarantor, and a resident . “
EGF Council employees assured consumers that after some time the commitment would be transferred to them. Meanwhile, according to the law, the assumption of debt requires the consent of the creditor. You can’t be sure that the bank will agree to this. The consumer informed the office that: “A guarantor was requested, so I applied. When signing the contract with the agent, it turned out that the loan was for me and for the amount of PLN 27,434.44 for 96 months, in total for repayment PLN 67,265.86. “
- He did not inform clients about the costs of financial intermediation when concluding the contract.
Consumers were surprised by the amount of remuneration they had to pay. One of the consumers informed that: “(…) I would like to remind you that every time I asked this lady why there is such a large amount of credit, because I only wanted to take a loan in the amount of PLN 10,000. This lady told me that I would receive PLN 10,000, and the rest I would transfer to an account unknown to me, because an intermediary and a bank want to make money on it . “
All practices questioned by UOKiK are described in the decision. The fine imposed was more than PLN 6.3 million. The decision is not final, it can be appealed to the court.