by AGNIESZKA BĄK-BERGANDER Aliant Poland
European Directive Omnibus has imposed new duties upon entrepreneurs (companies and sole traders) at the beginning of the 2023 year. Entrepreneurs can fulfil new obligations by making amendments in shops’ bylaws and online shops’ bylaws.
Here are four most significant amendments:
1. INFORMING ABOUT DISCOUNTS – NEW RULES:
When the shop is making a discount, they must inform the consumer not only about the new price, but also about the lowest product’s standard price within 30 days before the sale. It is crucial that an entrepreneur must inform also another entrepreneur, when they are doing business in retail. In Polish regulations, abovementioned rules pertain not only to goods, but also services. To conclude, duty to inform about the standard prices appears every time when the shop is making a sale or discounts. Making a sale is equal to such expressions as: ,,50 złotych discount, 15 % cheaper, sale, minus value added tax, happy hours, discount, we’re cutting prices, it won’t be cheaper.” Another option is to cross out the standard price and add a new, lower one next to the previous one (but the previous price must still be visible). The previous price must be easily discernible by a consumer, so the shop owner has to use big font and easily visible colour of the font. If the ordinary consumer is not able to notice a standard price, such behaviour will be interpreted as a violation of consumer protection regulations.
While lowering the prices, the entrepreneur doesn’t have to inform about the standard (previous) price when:
– there is no discount, no sale
– there are personal discount codes associated with loyalty programs, newsletters, birthdays
– there is a mechanism such as: ,,when you buy two, one extra is free”
2. CONSUMER’S OPINIONS – NEW RULES:
Usually, the entrepreneur should make sure that the consumers’ opinions are genuine, not fraudulent. However, it is hard for entrepreneur to verify each opinion, so legislator doesn’t impose this duty upon him provided that he puts a clear and noticeable statement on the webpage, that he doesn’t verify the consumers’ opinions. If the entrepreneur informs the clients that he verifies opinions, while in fact he doesn’t, such behaviour will be interpreted as abusive practices. The statement pertaining to verifying consumers’ opinions should be close to the opinions section on the webpage or should be included in bylaws. The statement must be easily noticeable.
3. DUTY OF INFORMATION – NEW RULES:
– The vendor must inform that he is an entrepreneur according to the Polish law
– The entrepreneur must provide the consumer with his phone number (that doesn’t include only giving the number, but also creating a situation, in which the consumer has the possibility to reach the entrepreneur quickly and efficiently), one method is to include an entrepreneur’s phone number in bylaws
– If the online shop uses the mechanized systems, which adjust the goods’ price to a customer’s expected price, basing on the information that the costumer has conveyed to the online shop, the entrepreneur has to make a statement about the usage of such system
– The entrepreneur has to inform the consumer, in a clear and understandable way and by proper communication device, about the method of searching results, which should help the consumer fathom these methods. For example, if the searching results are alphabetical, the information should contain the following statement: ,,When the consumer types words or expressions in the shop’s searching engine, the searching results would be the most accurate to the words or expressions which the consumer had typed before – in the alphabetical order.”
4. CONSUMER WARRANTY – NEW RULES:
New regulations apply to the situation, in which the consumer is the buyer: entrepreneur is liable for breach of contract (when the goods are not in accordance with an agreement), not for defective goods, as he was liable heretofore.
Entrepreneur should implement abovementioned amendments to online shop’s bylaws and exchange previous regulations with the new ones. (non-compliance of the goods with the contract).