Polish banks are disregarding the Court of Justice of the European Union judgment regarding loans; Civil Rights Ombudsman set to intervene
Despite the Court of Justice of the European Union judgment to the benefit of borrowers repaying their credit facilities ahead of time, some Polish banks are proving loath to refund all the costs incurred by them. In the view of the Civil Rights Ombudsman, some banks are not abiding by the Court of Justice judgment and are misleading their customers. From the perspective of the banks, this may be an expedient tactic, possibly discouraging customers from litigating.
Many individuals who had repaid their consumer loans ahead of the original deadline welcomed the Court of Justice judgment of 11 September 2019 regarding Lexitor (C-383/18). The gist of this Court of Justice of the European Union judgment was that the bank must refund all costs to such a borrower, not only those contingent on the duration of the loan agreement. With this judgment in hand, consumers began seeking refunds of commissions from their banks; in some cases, these amounted to several hundred PLN, and in others – to thousands. Some borrowers promptly received commission refunds credited to their bank accounts; others, however, were told that the bank concerned is not bound by the Court of Justice ruling in that it applies only to the domestic court that addressed the original query to the Court of Justice.
“Albeit I found the Court of Justice judgment slightly disappointing, it does offer clear guidance as to exactly what costs ought to be refunded to consumers. At least some of the individuals concerned will sue, but probably not all. And this could well be what the banks are counting on. It is worth following the future career of the Lexitor case, although a Supreme Court resolution would probably be the best solution”, explains Bernadeta Kasztelan-Świetlik, partner in GESSEL.
The full text of this article (in Polish) is available at www.prawo.pl