With effect from 13 June 2014, consumers will obtain a wider range of “consumer protection” when buying goods or services using mail order, internet, telephone or other forms of distance commerce.
The changes are intended to clarify rights and obligations between buyers and sellers and remove social undesirable features of transactions where the contracts are executed out of the seller’s business premises or with the consumer not physically present. They:
- increase the seller’s obligations;
- extend the seller’s notification duty;
- make it easier for consumers to withdraw; and
- include new measures to prevent vulnerable groups such as senior citizens from being targeted with unfair business practices.
Seller´s notification duty
Before executing distance contracts or contracts executed out of the seller’s business premises, consumers must be notified clearly and intelligibly by the seller about:
- the main features of goods or the character of the service (as appropriate for used form of communication and the particular goods or services sold);
- the seller’s name and seat (or place of business);
- the seller’s contact details (in particular the phone number, e-mail address or fax);
- the address of the seller or other person (whom the seller represents) to which claims, complaints or other motions about the goods and services should be notified;
- the total price of the goods or services (including VAT, other taxes, shipping, delivery and other costs and charges);
- any additional charges associated with contract execution (e.g. where a premium phone rate is charged for the customer service number);
- the consumer’s options for withdrawing from the contract and the conditions of exercising this right.
Customers will have 14 (instead of 7) days after executing the contract in which to withdraw.
Before an order is placed, sellers must give consumers a withdrawal form to complete if they wish to withdraw within the 14 day period.
Consumers cannot be required to pay if they have been misled or their express consent has not been obtained. This requires sellers to:
- obtain the consumer’s express consent, specifying that the obligation to pay the purchase price is part of the order;
- display ‘order with obligation to pay’ or other explicit phrase clearly and visibly on any button or other function used to place orders.
Contracts be executed in writing. This means that consumers must receive a written confirmation of the order after execution which:
- (for remote contracts) is in a durable medium and notifies them of the required information specified above;
- (for contracts executed away from the seller’s business premises) is in hard copy form (or another durable medium, if the consumer consents).
Where sales calls are initiated by the seller, consumers must be told:
- identification data (for the seller or the person on whose behalf the call is made);
- the purpose of the call;
- their obligation to pay for the goods or services being ordered (or other costs and charges), if the contract involves any consideration.
Where calls are initiated by the consumer, any sales contract will not be executed until the seller receives the consumer’s consent (specifying the agreed purchase) in writing or by any electronic means that can convey the content of the order and their consent.
Aggressive or unfair sales
Notices advertising sales events can be refused publication by The Central Inspectorate of the Slovak Commercial Inspection if the organiser is found to be an untrustworthy person (ie has materially breached the law). The same applies where the seller is a statutory body or shareholder in the company organising the sales event and is found to be an untrustworthy person. This change is intended to prevent aggressive and unfair sales events.
Law: Act No. 102/2014 Coll. on the protection of consumers in sale of goods or provision of services under remote contracts or contracts executed outside the business premises of the seller; Act No. 108/2000 Coll. on the protection of consumers in door-to-door and mail order sales and Act No. 266/2005 Coll. on the protection of consumers of remote financial services and on amending and supplementing certain other acts