Do you own an e-shop? Do you sell goods in a shop? Have you considered a new ad? Or do you want to beat the competition by next Christmas? Then you need to keep an eye on what changes are coming to your e-shop. And take up the challenge.
There are a lot of changes and we bring you a summary of the most interesting and important ones.
An amendment to the Civil Code and the Consumer Protection Act ↗ has been approved in the Parliament of the Czech Republic. All the changes will come into force from 6 January 2023, so there is no time to lose.
Do you want to enjoy the Christmas holidays in peace and not search for all the necessary information on the Internet? This article is the right one.
Can't keep up? Leave the revision to us. We will review your business conditions and set up the necessary processes ↗. If contacted before the end of the year, we will be able to carry out the review before 6 January 2023.
The changes are aimed at increasing the protection of three specific population groups:
And what are they specifically about?
Lets get to it!
Do you sell goods on your e-shop, but obfuscate around the price or how the price is calculated? Or maybe you don't want to fully disclose the main features of the product or service? In either case, it could be an unfair commercial practice. In addition to a sanction from the Czech Trade Inspection Authority, you may also face a contractual problem (private law sanction) with the consumer. What is it?
The new legislation gives the consumer the right to withdraw from the contract within 90 days if the consumer is subjected to unfair commercial practices. In addition, the consumer can demand a reasonable reduction in the price to the extent appropriate to the nature and gravity of the unfair commercial practice.
The consumer does not have the right to withdraw from the contract within 90 days if the seller proves that this is unreasonable in view of the subject matter of the contract, the nature and seriousness of the unfair commercial practice. It is therefore up to the seller to prove unreasonableness.
The provision can thus be widely abused by consumers. For this reason, we recommend that you take a good look to see if you are engaging in any of the unfair commercial practices.
Do not hesitate to contact us ↗, we will be happy to discuss your business model with you.
The proposal introduces a new information obligation for the provider of the online marketplace (i.e. the entrepreneur who enables the use of the online marketplace).
The law considers a service that allows a consumer to enter into a contract with a seller or another person at a distance using software an Online Marketplace. This includes a website, part of a website or an application. Such a marketplace is usually operated by someone other than the seller using the marketplace.
An online marketplace is therefore a platform that allows consumers to enter into contracts with businesses. Thus, portals such as Heureka, Aukro, Booking and other platforms that enable contracts between users will meet the definition.
We all know this. We open our favorite app, like a food app, type in what we'd like to have for dinner and a list of restaurants comes up. It's just that every restaurant wants to be first on the list. And so they pay. For priority placement, for another restaurant to get squeezed into the algorithm. This is exactly what the new obligation on online marketplace providers is designed to prevent.
The provider of the online marketplace (i.e. the person who operates the online marketplace) must inform the consumer of the main parameters determining the order in which offers are displayed to the consumer on the basis of his search and of their relative weight in relation to other parameters.
This information needs to be located so that it is directly and easily accessible from the place where the offers are displayed to the consumer. Do note that the rules don't apply to internet search engines, so PPCers still won't learn how Google does it.
In addition, the provider of the online marketplace will have to provide information about the person offering products or services through the online marketplace. In particular, it is important to indicate whether the provider is also the seller. The online marketplace provider informs about this on the basis of a declaration by this third party, but the online marketplace provider is not obliged to verify the accuracy and truthfulness of this declaration.
If the seller is not an entrepreneur, this information is subject to the obligation of the online marketplace provider to inform the consumer that he is not protected by consumer law. The last part of the information obligation includes the obligation to inform the consumer about the relationship between the online marketplace provider and the third party offering the product or service, in particular the division of contractual obligations between them.
In the event of non-compliance with these obligations, the operator of the online marketplace is liable to a fine of up to 4% of the seller's total annual turnover and, if the amount of turnover is not known to the supervisory authority, a fine of up to CZK 50 million may be imposed.
For a long time, there has been uncertainty for some businesses as to whether or not they have to include written instructions with their products. The provisions of Section 9 of the Consumer Protection Act were not entirely clear. With the amendment, however, there is finally clarity:
The operator must include instructions, but they no longer have to be in writing, but on a durable medium.
You can slowly put your smile back, because the website where the instructions are published is not considered a permanent data carrier. This is because they do not allow you to store the instructions in an unchanged form for a reasonable period of time.
Of course, the consumer can still ask for written instructions. This should be provided where it is reasonable for the nature of the product/service provided. Simply, if a consumer buys a Blu-ray disc with a computer game on it, it would be unreasonable for the consumer to be able to request written instructions.
No. According to the amendment, it won't be enough. The instructions must be on a medium such as USB, CD-ROM (we're getting old), memory stick, or electronic mail. Want to get rid of the paper? Email the instructions. This will meet the requirements under the proposed amendment. ✅
Whether you run an e-shop or a brick-and-mortar store, the amendment will bring a major change to the way you present discounts. Many e-shops are adapting their prices to the current market needs. And often they present discounts that are not discounts at all. This puts consumers in a very difficult situation, as they have to monitor the market situation very closely and remember how much the goods were selling for before the discount (really, not the crossed-out price tag).
The bill requires sellers of any discount or discount promotion to state its lowest price within 30 days before the discount is given. For products that have been on the market for less than 30 days, the seller must state the lowest price for that period. The legislator thus tries to prevent price increases before the discount event. The only exceptions are products that are perishable or have a short shelf life.
So, for example, if a seller lists discounts during "Black Friday", "Cyber Monday", "Christmas Sale" and other discount promotions, it will now also have to list the lowest price the goods have had in the last 30 days.
Do you have a refund policy? Then be prepared to expand it and improve the setup of your refund processes.
The amendment to the Consumer Protection Act introduces a formal specification of the refund protocol that the entrepreneur must issue to the consumer when filing for a refund.
This refund protocol must include:
Newly, the refund handling process will also have to include informing the consumer. Not only must the enterpreneur process the refund within 30 days, but he must also send the consumer (to the contact listed in the refund protocol) information on how the complaint will be handled.
E-shops will thus have to set up internal processes to meet this deadline. Alternatively, you can agree a longer deadline with the consumer.
Do you have correctly set up refund policies? Don't forget to adjust them in regards with the amendment. We'll handle it for you ↗.
A new feature is a private law sanction for entrepreneurs who fail to meet the deadline. In such a case, the consumer can withdraw from the contract or demand a reasonable discount.
E-shops will no longer be able to rely on the fact that the consumer will not "complain to the CTIA" if the complaint is not dealt with in time. Consumers will be able to withdraw from the contract with all the consequences, including having to return the purchase price paid for the goods and the consumer having to hand the goods back to you. If there is a claim, this obligation will also fall away for the consumer.
The seller must now make reasonable efforts to ensure that consumer reviews it publishes are from consumers who have purchased or used the product or service. The obligation applies not only to reviews of goods but also to reviews of the e-shop (seller) itself.
Furthermore, the seller is obliged to inform the consumer how the consumer review was obtained and how it was verified. Many e-shops now only allow reviews to be made by customers who have purchased goods on their e-shop. This is one of the criteria that an e-shop should evaluate. It should also provide sufficient information on how reviews are handled, whether only positive or negative reviews are published or whether they are influenced by the contractual relationship/sponsorship.
The e-shop can proceed as follows:
In the event that the seller publishes a review without the above rules, this will be considered an unfair business practice and may be fined up to CZK 5,000,000. At the same time, if the buyer is influenced by the review to purchase the product, he/she has the right to withdraw from the contract within 90 days (see above).
A change beyond EU law will affect the conclusion of contracts over the phone. It will no longer be possible to conclude contracts over the phone, directly during a phone call. The change requires the seller to send a text confirmation of the offer immediately after the phone call and the contract will only be concluded after the consumer subsequently accepts the seller's text confirmation of the offer.
For contracts concluded during organised sales events by the retailer and for contracts concluded in the consumer's home, the consumer's withdrawal period is extended from the previous 14 days to 30 days, due to persistent problems with faulty products in the market.
Every e-shop and e-commerce entity is certainly interested in what the amendment will mean for their business conditions. Please refer to our checklist ↗ for specific changes.
Is your e-shop ready? We'll help you get everything prepped.