The consumer protection provisions, especially those regarding online shopping and other distance selling services have been amended to meet the obligations set forth in the Consumer Rights Directive (2011/83/EU). The most notable amendments concern the provisions on tradersâ€™ obligations to provide information to consumers and the right of consumers to withdraw from a distance contract. The amended Consumer Protection Act will enter into force on 13 June 2014.
Traders must ensure to disclose the consumerâ€™s obligation to pay for a product or service. In the online environment when the completion of an order requires a click of a button or other equivalent action, the consumer is bound by an agreement only if the obligation to pay has been clearly indicated in the button or in an equivalent function.
The properties of digital content have also been addressed. One of the key additions to the Act is the obligation of a trader to inform consumers of the compatibility of digital content with devices and programs.
Under the new Act, if a consumer decides to withdraw from a distance contract, the consumer is, as a rule, always bound to inform the trader of the withdrawal unequivocally beforehand, whereas the current legislation allows the consumer to withdraw from a distance selling contract simply by returning the product. A model withdrawal form, which is more accurately defined in Annex I of the abovementioned Directive, has to be appropriately provided by the trader. Another key change is that consumers are liable for the return costs in such withdrawal situations.
Contrary to provisions now in force, consumers will be entitled under the amended Act to withdraw from a service contract even after the service provider has initiated the execution of the service but not after the service has been fully completed. The trader must be justly compensated for the partially completed service. However, these amendments do not apply to digital content delivered electronically â€“ e.g. digital music â€“ by the request of the consumer. When contacting the trader in relation to the concluded contract, the consumer shall not be bound to pay more than the standard rate for the telephone calls.