The EU Consumer Rights Directive required businesses across the EU to comply with its requirements from 13 June 2014. EU member states have taken different approaches to implementing the new legislation; on 17 June 2014 the Polish Consumer Rights Act was signed by Poland’s President, yet the Polish Act which transposes the Consumer Rights Directive legislation won’t come in to force until 25 December this year.

The Polish Consumer Rights Act not only addresses new legislation for businesses with regards to distance sales and door-to-door sales, but it also amends the core provisions of the Polish Civil Code concerning liability for the quality of goods sold. The Act integrates certain aspects of Directive 1999/44/EC of 25 May 1999 concerning the sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees.

Poland has taken a bold decision to change its whole sales contract system and integrate it in the Civil Code, as it merges rules for business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions. The implementation of the Consumer Rights Directive provided a good opportunity to make the changes which also affect rules for statutory warranty as well as contractual warranties and guarantees.

The new provisions will therefore not only affect B2C but also B2B transactions. This is expected to pose huge legal and organisational challenges for retail businesses in Poland.