The recent amendment to the Electronic Communications Act (“the Amendment”) came into effect in the Czech Republic on 2 September 2017. The most significant changes relate to customer contracts governed by Section 63 of the Electronic Communications Act, which now have preferable conditions for customers, including greater protection against unilateral contract changes by operators.
A stipulated notice period will remain a compulsory part of customer contracts, however, it now must not exceed 30 days. Previously, operators were free to exercise their discretion to set the length of notice periods according to their own business judgment.
To conform with the Amendment, contracts must contain provisions which specify the possibility and extent of potential unilateral changes and the manner in which they must be notified to the other party, including the notification of the option to withdraw. This option was previously only available if the change was substantial and would necessarily deteriorate the customer’s position. As a result, customers must not only be acquainted with any one-sided amendments to their contract, but also have to be given the option to cancel the contract without having any penalty imposed upon them. This is in contrast to the former requirements, which allowed operators to extend time-limited contracts automatically, provided they had informed the customer about the possible option and means of termination at least 1 month (and not earlier than 3 months) before the contract lapsed.
Additionally, operators must also now inform customers of the forthcoming termination of the contract and the possibility of its extension. However, contracts can only be extended for a limited term in cases where customers give their explicit consent with the time-limited prolongation; otherwise the original contract is considered to continue for an indefinite time.
The Amendment was prepared by the Government according to which it shall serve as a step towards greater customer protection. If you have any questions at all related to the Amendment, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our contacts.