Legislative Decree no. 21 of 02.21.2014, implementing Directive 2011/83/EU and published in the O.J. of 11.03.2014 no. 58, introduces significant changes to the Consumer Code in relation to the regulation of distance and off-premises contracts.
Main changes are summarised below:
- additional pre-contractual information obligations on the trader, to be provided on paper or on another durable medium through the use of a simple and understandable language, concerning:
- contact details of the trader;
- total price of goods and services including shipping costs;
- the time by which the trader undertakes to deliver the goods or to perform the services and, where applicable, the trader’s complaint handling policy;
- the provision of a withdrawal form;
- a reminder of the existence of the legal guarantee of conformity for goods;
- the existence and the conditions of after-sales services;
- conditions to withdraw from any contract of indeterminate duration or to be extended automatically;
- the minimum duration of the consumer's obligations, if any;
- the existence and the conditions of deposits or other financial guarantees to be paid or provided by the consumer;
- any out-of-court complaint and redress procedure to which the trader is subject to.
- Deadline for exercising the right of withdrawal. According to art. 52, the right of withdrawal may be exercised by the consumer:
- if properly informed of the existence of this right within a period of 14 days instead of the current 10 days;
- if the trader failed to provide the consumer with all the information concerning the right of withdrawal, the period to exercise such right will be extended by 12 months (in addition to the 14 days mentioned above), instead of the current 60 days for the off-premises contracts and 90 days for distance contracts.
- Deadline for repayment by the trader of payments received from the consumer in case of withdrawal, reduced from 30 days to 14 days.
- Deadline for return of the good by the consumer in case of withdrawal, increased from 10 days to 14 days. The consumer shall be liable only for the diminished value of the good resulting from an handling other than that required to establish the nature, characteristics and functioning of the goods.
- As far as penalties are concerned, the maximum amount of the administrative fine is increased from euro 500.000,00 to euro 5.000.000,00 in the case of:
- unfair trade practices;
- non-compliance with emergency or inhibitive decisions of the Competition Authority, or failure to meet the commitment to cease the infringement by the trader.
Such new regulation will come into force on June 13, 2014 and will apply to contracts entered into after this date, except for the part relating to the fines which, instead, will come into effect from March 26, 2014.