Change of working hours of the Ukrainian language consumer hotline
Starting from 1 June, there will be a change in the working hours of the special consumer hotline available in Ukrainian.
To get free legal aid in Ukrainian, please call 801 440 220 or 222 66 76 76 from Monday to Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The cost of this call will be the same as the cost of any other call made to another telephone number and depend on your operator’s rates.
While in Poland, you may also benefit from free legal assistance if you make purchases from a foreign seller, e.g. if you have bought an item online from a seller from another EU country, Norway, Iceland or the UK. In this case, you can benefit from assistance provided by the European Consumer Centre (ECK) at:
- 22 55 60 600– d– the on-call lawyers who also speak Ukrainian are available from Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The cost of this call will be the same as the cost of any other call made to another telephone number and depend on your operator’s rates.
Bank accounts and insurance – important information
Due to the current situation, banks operating in Poland have introduced certain facilities for Ukrainian citizens arriving or already staying in Poland. Below are some of them:
- Most banks have abolished fees for transfers to banks in Ukraine and from Ukraine to Poland.
- Many banks provide service in Ukrainian through special helplines, the numbers of which can be found on the banks’ websites and bank branches.
- Some banks allowed free deposits and withdrawals at branches and ATMs.
- Certain banks have exempted their existing Ukrainian customers from account and card fees.
- Some banks offer to open a special account with a dedicated card – depending on the institution, all you need is one of the identity documents listed by the Polish Office for Foreigners; these are
- a biometric passport;
- a national visa (D) or Schengen visa (C);
- a visa with the indication D or C or a residence permit issued by another Schengen State;
- a temporary residence permit, permanent residence or residence permit for long-term EU resident and a valid residence card;
- an application for international protection submitted at a Polish border crossing;
- entry approved by the Polish Border Guard Commander when crossing the border.
You may be asked to declare that you arrived in Poland after 23 February 2022, i.e. after the start or during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Having a PESEL number can streamline the procedures.
Detailed information on the facilities is available at the banks’ websites and branches.
II. Motor vehicle liability insurance
Additionally, some insurance companies offer persons entering the Republic of Poland in connection with the current situation in Ukraine free motor vehicle liability insurance (hereinafter ‘MVLI’) for 30 days.
Any person in possession of a motor vehicle travelling in the territory of the Republic of Poland is obliged to have a compulsory MVLI policy for damages arising in connection with the movement of the vehicle owned and the insurance cover for the entire period in which the vehicle is registered. In relation to vehicles registered abroad, this obligation applies for the entire period of stay of these vehicles in the territory of the Republic of Poland. A check of compliance with the obligation to have valid MVLI may also be carried out in the territory of Poland. Failure to provide proof of valid MVLI during such a check entitles the person conducting this check to keep your registration certificate under the provisions of the Road Traffic Act.
Detailed information on the facilities is available at the websites and in the branches of the insurance companies listed below:
Acquisition of funding
The granting of consumer credit in Poland is subject to detailed regulations, among other things, the Consumer Credit Act – which regulates issues such as the maximum cost of the credit or loan granted. To obtain a cash loan, the applicant must demonstrate that they have sufficiently high creditworthiness, which may be an obstacle to obtaining financing from a bank or lending institution.
Before granting consumer credit, the bank or lending institution should provide you with a form informing you about the terms and conditions of the credit, including the type of credit, the duration of the agreement, the total amount of credit, the interest rate, the total amount payable by the consumer, information about the costs of the credit and information about the right of withdrawal.
An alternative source of financing is provided by pawnshops, which do not have to check the borrower’s creditworthiness, as the loan is secured by the item pledged. However, please remember that not all pawnshop agreements are subject to the same restrictions as consumer credit.
When using pawnshop financing, pay particular attention to the kind of deal the pawnshop offers. If it is not called a ‘loan agreement’ – avoid it. Be particularly wary of ‘safekeeping agreements’ or ‘sale and repurchase agreements’ offered by some businesses.
To avoid dishonest businesses trying to take advantage of a difficult situation, if you can, try to verify the average market value of your item in Poland using, for example, e-commerce websites before pawning it. The most popular websites of this type in Poland include www.allegro.pl or www.olx.pl.
Be careful when entering into any agreements and investing money. Entrust the funds you have accumulated only to trustworthy institutions. The register of lending institutions is available at the website of the Financial Supervision Authority: https://rpkip.knf.gov.pl/index.html?type=RIP. Before concluding a loan agreement, ask the business offering the loan for company details and check if it is included in the above register.
If you have a bank account, credit card or other financial services:
- Do not provide information that allows accessing your account. In particular, protect login, password, credit card number, including CVC/CVV codes).
- BANK EMPLOYEES NEVER ASK FOR YOUR ACCOUNT LOGIN OR PASSWORD.
- If someone calls you and introduces themselves as a bank employee, beware. Criminals often impersonate them.
- Ask for the name of the bank and hang up. Do not call back numbers provided by such persons or use links sent to you.
- Look up the helpline number online and call the bank.
- 801 440 220 and 22 290 89 16 from Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The cost of this call will be the same as the cost of any other call made to another telephone number and depend on your operator’s rates. Advice is also provided in Ukrainian.
Residence matters, general information on required documents concerning work or study in Poland:
- Office for Foreigners – special helpline: +48 47 721 75 75.
World Consumer Rights Day for Ukrainians
- “We are all consumers” is the motto of this year’s World Consumer Rights Day.
- Refugees from Ukraine are also consumers – specially for them UOKiK and 6 other institutions have prepared useful information that will make shopping, travelling and using services easier.
- UOKiK has also launched free consumer advice in Ukrainian at tel. 801 440 220, 22 290 89 16 and by email: email@example.com.
Every year on 15 March we celebrate World Consumer Rights Day in memory of US President John F. Kennedy’s speech 60 years ago. On that day, he proclaimed that we are all consumers and formulated four basic rights for each of us: the right to safety, the right to be informed, the right to choose and the right to be heard.
– This year, World Consumer Rights Day took on a new and special dimension. Refugees are pouring into Poland because of the war in Ukraine. They are consumers just like any of us; they shop, enter into telephone or internet contracts, withdraw money from banks and use various services. When doing that, they have – just like Polish consumers – the right to reliable information, to choose the most advantageous offer, to buy safely, and in case of a dispute with a trader – the right to free legal assistance – says Tomasz Chróstny, President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.
Here you will find help in Ukrainian
With our Ukrainian guests in mind, UOKiK started to provide free consumer advice in Ukrainian, both by telephone and by e-mail. You bought shoes and after some time it turned out that the sole was falling off? You entered into a contract online and would like to cancel it? The telecommunications operator did not inform you about additional charges? You are not sure if the terms of the loan you are offered are fair? For free legal advice call the Consumer Helpline at: 801 440 220 or 22 290 89 16 (Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm, cost of the call as per your operator’s price list) or write an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. In the latter case, you can ask for help in writing a complaint or withdrawal from a contract in Polish. You can also send the contract you are about to sign for review.
Compendium of knowledge for refugees
UOKiK and 6 other institutions: European Consumer Centre, Financial Supervision Authority, Financial Ombudsman, Office of Electronic Communications, Personal Data Protection Office and Office of Rail Transport prepared useful information for visitors from Ukraine. We hope that it will make it easier for refugees to shop, travel and use services in Poland and other EU countries. This is very important, as consumers in the EU are protected by different legislation than in Ukraine, so we want to introduce Ukrainian visitors to key matters in a practical way.
In the “Twoje prawa w Polsce – VADEMECUM KONSUMENTA” (Your rights in Poland – CONSUMER GUIDEBOOK) guide prepared in Ukrainian, UOKiK focused on basic consumer rights. From it, visitors from Ukraine can learn, among other things:
- where to find free legal assistance,
- what to do if a product they bought is faulty,
- what rules apply when shopping in brick and mortar shops and what rules apply when shopping online,
- how to buy safely online.
Visit the websites of our partners from other institutions:
European Consumer Centre: If you are planning to travel from Poland to another country, read the basic information about your rights as a consumer when travelling in the EU, Norway, Iceland and the UK
Financial Ombudsman: Learn about your rights when using financial and insurance products and see how the Financial Ombudsman can help you
Financial Supervision Authority: Information on insurers and banks – entity search engine
Office of Electronic Communications: Advice on how to use the services of telecommunications operators
Personal Data Protection Office: What rights GDPR gives you, how to protect your personal data and privacy and how to navigate the Internet safely
Office of Rail Transport: Information on free rail travel opportunities. Also, learn about your rights as a passenger
And if you are looking for accommodation, humanitarian aid, transport and broadly understood support, please visit the website pomagamukrainie.gov.pl
Verify fundraisers for victims of war in Ukraine
- The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection received a consumer complaint about a double currency conversion of a donation to the fundraiser for Ukrainian victims of Russian military aggression.
- The President of UOKiK has initiated an investigation and addressed the payment intermediaries: Pay Pal and Facebook’s owner – Meta.
- We will verify whether consumers are sufficiently informed about payment and currency conversion rules.
“I would like to encourage everyone to help Ukrainian victims of war and refugees. All the information about what we can do for Ukrainian citizens can be found on the government website pomagamukrainie.gov.pl. If you decide to make a donation, carefully check the purpose and rules of the fundraiser. I caution against hastily transferring money to unverified charities since there is a risk that they might have been created by scammers. I would like to also appeal to payment intermediaries so that consumers who want to finance aid for refugees from Ukraine do not incur additional, unjustified costs of such action,” says the President of UOKiK, Tomasz Chróstny.
President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny is currently veryfying the rules for collecting payments from people who want to help Ukrainian victims of Russian military aggression. These actions are related to a complaint made by a consumer who, in order to help, donated money to one of the fundraisers made available on Facebook by a charity organisation. As they claim, they were not aware that their account would be reduced not only by the amount donated, but also by the cost of converting these funds twice: from PLN to USD and then from USD to EUR.
The President of UOKiK has launched an investigation into the case, which involves Pay Pal Europe of Luxembourg and Meta Platforms of Ireland (the owner of Facebook). This is a preliminary step in the case analysis, which aims to determine whether consumers donating money to help victims of the war in Ukraine are correctly informed of the fact that their funds will be converted several times, resulting in their accounts being debited with higher amounts than those donated to charities.
- Do you support refugees from Ukraine? Can you provide shelter, financial or material support? Visit pomagamukrainie.gov.pl and find out how you can help.
- Verify fundraisers, read the terms and conditions of payment intermediaries.
- Do not click on links received via text messages urging you to make a donation, do not trust emails supposedly sent by Ukrainian citizens asking for a money transfer.
- Donate to official charity organisations, not to personal accounts.
Consumer, shop smart
- The President of UOKiK, Tomasz Chróstny, would like to appeal to Polish businesses and consumers to act in solidarity in connection with the Russian and Belarusian attack on Ukraine.
- Consumer, make informed purchasing decisions: pay attention to the barcodes: 460-469 (manufactured in the Russian Federation), 481 (manufactured in Belarus).
Russia’s aggression with the support of Belarus against Ukraine continues. The US, EU and individual states are currently imposing sanctions on the aggressor. Polish entrepreneurs and consumers can also support these actions and strike at the economic interests of Russia and Belarus. Many retail chains have already withdrawn goods of Russian origin from their offer. For example, Aldi, Carrefour, Netto, Rossmann and Stokrotka were among the first ones to take this step. However, as consumers, we can make a conscious decision to avoid products made in these countries on the supermarket shelves.
– We encourage everyone to take part in the action of boycotting products and services from companies in Russia and Belarus. We appreciate retail chains withdrawing such products from their offer. Let us be in solidarity with Ukraine, we oppose Russian military aggression,” says Tomasz Chróstny, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK).
As a consumer, you can find where a product comes from on its barcode. For those made in the Russian Federation, it starts with the numbers 46, while products from Belarus have codes starting with 481.