Amid the COVID-19 epidemic, providing the locked-down economy with sufficient liquidity to counteract the consequences of the halt is among the Polish government’s prime objectives. Having that in mind, the Polish Competition Protection Authority (UOKiK) chair recently stressed that, working in cooperation with the National Revenue Administration and other authorities, it will now pay particular attention to counteracting payment delays, relying on the powers vested in it by the Act of March 8, 2013 on Counteracting Excessive Delays in Commercial Transactions (the Act).
Please keep in mind that:
- According to the Act, if a debtor’s payment delay in a commercial transaction exceeds 30 days (if the payment date has not been specified in the transaction agreement) or the payment date provided for in the parties’ agreement has been missed (such payment period may not exceed 30 or 60 days), the debtor shall pay the creditor the penalty interest set forth in the Act (which is higher than the late payment interest under the Civil Code).
- The provisions of the Act apply to commercial transactions (i.e., all goods supply or services transactions connected with commercial activity) and to all debtors (with exceptions for certain entities defined in the Public Procurement Law).
- The creditor may not only claim penalty interest on late payments, but may also request compensation connected with collection (in the amount defined in the Act, payable on top of the court fees connected with collection).
- The Act has also obliged certain entrepreneurs to report to the National Revenue Administration regarding the payment terms applied by such entrepreneur, and provides certain limitations in setting payment terms.
- Since January 1, 2020, UOKiK has had the power to investigate and penalize, ex officio, excessive delays in payments (excessive delay meaning a situation where during three consecutive months, the total amount of unpaid or delayed payments exceeds PLN2 million).
- If it transpires in the course of the proceedings that the enterprise subject to the proceedings committed a breach, being the excessive delay in payment, UOKiK may impose a financial penalty comprising the total of the penalty interest that would have been accrued on the delayed payments under the Act. Such penalty is to be paid on top of the penalty interest.
- The decision on commencing the proceedings and imposing the penalty announced by UOKiK is available on its website.
- The provisions of the Act are without prejudice to other creditors’ rights in case of late payment.
Should you have any questions with this regard, please do not hesitate to contact us.