The laws regulating business-to-consumer contracts are being overhauled and brought into line with EU law.

Legislation implementing the EU Consumer Rights Directive has been passed by Parliament and signed by the President. It will now be published in the official Journal of Laws and come into force 6 months after the publication date (ie towards the end of 2014). This is slightly later than the deadline of 13 June 2014 set by the European Commission.

The new law not only repeals and replaces current law regulating business-to-consumer dealings but also amends the Civil Code, including:

  • a requirement for pre-contract information to be provided where contracts are concluded at the seller’s business premises
  • new rules for concluding distance and off-premises contracts
  • a right of withdrawal from distance and off-premises contracts
  • rules for the distance marketing of consumer financial services
  • new provisions protecting the seller’s chain of liability for defective products 
  • new rules for product warranty and liability for defective products (for B2B and B2C channels)

Some of the main changes include:

  • extending to 14 days the period in which consumers may withdraw from a distance or off-premises contract without giving any reason (and to 12 months if the consumer is not informed of their right to withdraw) 
  • no longer permitting pre-ticked boxes on e-traders’ websites 
  • requiring the total cost of products or services to be expressly notified to consumers when placing an order (otherwise they do not have to pay it)
  • giving sellers a right (which may not be contractually excluded) to obtain compensation from suppliers where they have satisfied a consumer’s demands relating to a defective product.

Law: Consumer Rights Directive 2011/83/EU, Act of 30 May 2014 on consumer rights (signed by the President on 17 June 2014)