In Poland, free debt advice is provided by:
- Counties (powiaty) – over 1,500 Centers of Free Legal Help (Punkty Nieodpłatnej Pomocy Prawnej); These centers are created to provide free legal help in general law; Since 2022, the Government organized a few specialized lawyers focused in, for example, insolvency law, franc loans mediation, and help for over indebtedness, where help is guaranteed for people who declare that they don’t have money cover costs of professional lawyers. For more information and to book a meeting, visit this Website.
- Office of Competition and Consumer Protection – in every county you can find a consumer ombudsman that can help you with general consumer problems, as well as with consumer credits – https://uokik.gov.pl/rzecznicy.php
- Financial Ombudsman – This professional specializes in helping people who are facing problems with financial institutions by providing expert consultancy, intervention proceedings, and conciliatory proceeding; more information can be found on the website: https://rf.gov.pl
- NGOs – an example of an NGO that provides such services is Stowarzyszenie Krzewienia Edukacji Finansowej – SKEF, which provides debt advise via personal contact, by phone, or by email – Website
- Additionally, in most major cities, you can find free help at a students’ clinic at Law Faculty, Bar Association, and also in specific debt collection company.
You can find psychological help in a Crisis Intervention Centre (Ośrodek Interwencji Kryzysowej). The lists of these places can be found here: http://www.interwencjakryzysowa.pl/osrodki-interwencji-kryzysowej
Help with debts by conciliation
A different, interesting option to deal with your debts is try and use some conciliatory proceedures, where experts can help you negotiate with your creditor. There are three main free ADR measures that offer the opportunity to settle a dispute out of court, if your creditor agrees:
- Arbitration Court at the PFSA (Sąd Polubowny przy KNF)
- Financial Ombudsman (Rzecznik Finansowy)
- Bank Consumer Arbitration
Due to the economic crises, the Polish government has prepared support for debtors, as:
- “Credit vacations” – suspension of repayment of mortgage loan installments in Polish zlotys – in 2023, debtors can suspend up to 4 installments; this solution is offered for people who took a loan before July 1st, 2022. Here you can find a guide about the credit vacation rules.
- Financial support from the Support Fund (Fundusz Wsparcia Kredytobiorców) – it is dedicated to people who are in a difficult financial situation and are obliged to repay installments of a housing loan that significantly burdens the household budget. From the Fund, you can get a repayable financial support to cover your loan installments (for a maximum of 36 months) or a repayable loan to cover the part of the debt remaining after the sale of the credited property (up to PLN 72,000). Website- BGK
- New indicator to count interests for banks: WIRON, instead WIBOR;