Pingo Doce parent company
Image: Paulo Novais/ Lusa

Pingo Doce parent company fined €36 million for ‘misleading’ adverts… in Poland

Polish regulator rules inflation-busting campaign “misled customers”

Poland’s consumer protection regulator has fined the local operations of Portugal-based retail group Jerónimo Martins (best known for its chain here of Pingo Doce supermarkets) 160 million zlotys (almost €36 million) for “misleading consumers.” 

The regulator, known in Poland as UOKiK, said that Jerónimo Martins Polska – which owns an extensive network of stores in the country – “misled consumers” given “the conditions, benefits and availability” of rules and regulations of a campaign for its Biedronka supermarket chain dubbed anti-inflation (‘Tarcza Biedronki antyinflacyjna’ in the original).

According to the regulator, the campaign, which went out between April and June 2022, with the slogan “if you find a product on our list of 150 most frequently bought products at a lower price in another store, we will return the difference” was characterised by “complicated rules, disproportionate benefits and limited availability.”

UOKiK found that Jerónimo Martins Polska was infringing “the collective interests of consumers.”

This is not the first time that it has been sanctioned in Poland, says the statement put out by the Polish regulator: “The President of UOKiK has previously questioned practices such as discrepancies in prices at the checkout and on the shelf or mislabelling of the origin of fruit and vegetables, among others”. 

Observador online goes further: “In 2020, the Polish competition authority punished the company for “demonstrating profound dishonesty” by the other companies with a fine of €163 million euros. At the time, Jerónimo Martins considered the “biased, unfair and undeserved decision”. The following year, the group that owns Pingo Doce was accused of “misleading consumers about the country of origin of vegetables and fruits”, with a fine of €13.2 million. Last year, in August, the retailer received another fine, this time for misleading advertising”.

This latest fine/ decision is not final, UOKIK explains on its website, and may be subject to appeal.

Source: LUSA/ Observador