Knowledge about safe and reasonable lending is increasingly widespread and more eagerly disseminated. It is no surprise to anyone today that the actual interest rate is not the same as the minimum interest rate, or that in addition to the bank’s margin, the lender can also charge a commission. This information is today considered as the absolute foundation – it is promoted even during entrepreneurial classes in schools.
Consumer awareness is increasing, which is why it is not surprising that the Financial Ombudsman is affected by more and more complaints about practices used by lenders. As Marcin Jaworski, an expert in communication and education in the office of the Financial Ombudsman notes:
Unfortunately, we see more and more complaints related to loans or consumer loans. This is an increasingly serious problem, clients complain boldly.
Only in 2018, the Office received a total of 1.8 thousand complaints related to consumer loans. According to official data, this is by as much as 18% more than in 2017. It is difficult to predict whether this situation will change in the following years. Consumer awareness will continue to grow, but the lenders themselves will be forced to improve standards in relation to numerous complaints.
Check how to reasonably lend money to financial institutions. Link.
What are the Poles complaining about?
According to official data published by the Office of the Financial Ombudsman, nearly as many as 60% of reported complaints concern loans granted by commercial banks. We complain less frequently about loan companies and Credit Unions, although this may be due to the fact that these entities are not limited by many legal rules. For example, private loan companies operate only on the basis of the Civil Code.
It is also worth adding that on average every fourth complaint concerns problems with credit settlement at its early repayment. According to the interpretation of the Financial Ombudsman and the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, all costs related to the loan with its early repayment should be proportionally settled. This principle, however, is used differently. Marcin Jaworski explains:
According to the interpretation of the Financial Ombudsman and UOKiK, all costs related to the loan with its prepayment should be proportionally settled. Unfortunately, both banks and loan companies interpret this provision differently and do not want to pay some of the costs, mainly commissions or preparation fees.
How do you file a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman?
A complaint from the Financial Ombudsman is a privilege that can be used by every Polish consumer who feels disadvantaged because of the practices used by the lender. However, it is worth knowing that you should first submit a complaint directly to the culprit. If a dishonest bank, SKOK or a loan company maintains its position, then we should ask the Financial Ombudsman for help.
Unfortunately, the official complaint of the Ombudsman and his official intervention do not always bring the desired result. In a situation where a dishonest lender does not react, the consumer will be forced to take a legal path. Of course, the Ombudsman’s Office supports consumers at the stage of court proceedings by issuing a so-called “important view”, ie an official opinion of an auxiliary character. The court is obliged to take this “view” into account, although it is not arbitrary.
Finally, it is worth adding that for the consumer’s safety, it is extremely important to thoroughly analyze the loan agreement. Even before the loan is planned, the client should carefully read the loan agreement and all attached annexes and attachments. It is worth paying attention not only to the interest rate on the offer, but also to the APRC indicator, the total amount to be paid or the terms of early repayment of the liability.