What novelties does new Consumer Protection Law bring?

21.09.2021.

At the beginning of September 2021, the new Consumer Protection Law * (Law) was adopted, which, inter alia, introduces changes regarding the establishment of records of consumer disputes in courts, the introduction of pro forma invoices for provided services, and the introduction of a register to be kept by RATEL (anyone who does not want to be disturbed by the phone sales may register).

Even though this topic has been current for many years, consumers are still not aware of their rights, merchants are not aware of their obligations, and judges are not aware of the mandatory application of this Law in consumer disputes.

Hereby, we will point out some of the rights of the consumers prescribed by the Law:

  • unclear provisions of the contract made between the consumer and the merchant are always interpreted in favor of the consumer
  • the right of termination of the contract if the agreed delivery deadline is not met
  • the right to repair and return of goods/services even though there is no warranty within 2 years
  • the right to change your mind if the goods are ordered online, via catalogs, via TV sales, at a presentation or from a door-to-door merchant, within 14 days**
  • if within six months of the purchase of the goods it is shown that the delivered goods are not in conformity with the contract, the consumer who informed the merchant of the non-conformity has the right to choose between the request to eliminate the non-conformity by replacement, appropriate price reduction or to terminate the contract. If the non-conformity occurs within six months from the purchase of the goods, the elimination of the non-conformity is possible by repair with the explicit consent of the consumer. Proving that the goods are defective or not used well is the obligation of the merchant
  • the right to file a consumer complaint reporting a violation of the right regulated by law https://zapotrosace.gov.rs/
  • exemption from paying court fees on lawsuits and judgments in case of a consumer dispute (if the value of the subject of the dispute does not exceed the amount of RSD 500.000)
  • the right to initiate an out-of-court dispute before the body competent for out-of-court settlement of consumer disputes which is entered in the list of bodies for out-of-court settlement of consumer disputes if the consumer has previously filed a complaint or objection to the merchant.

Some of the obligations of merchants under the Law are the following:

  • the obligation to present the selling and unit price of the goods or services
  • the obligation to issue an invoice for the purchased goods or services to the consumer, as well as to clearly point out the deadline for delivery of goods on the invoice or other document on the contract
  • obligation to respond to the consumer’s complaint within 8 days, and to resolve the complaint within 15 days***
  • the merchant has 30 days to deliver the goods****
  • it is prohibited to condition the sale of goods or the provision of a service by the sale of other goods or the provision of another service
  • direct advertising by telephone, fax or e-mail is prohibited, without the prior consent of the consumer
  • the merchant is obliged to participate in the procedure of out-of-court settlement of consumer disputes before the body for out-of-court settlement of consumer disputes, as well as to clearly display notification of such obligation at the point of sale.

Finally, we especially highlight the fact that the courts are obliged to apply the provisions of this Law, and that its application is a primary in relation to other laws, especially the Law on Contracts and Torts. Only in case some of the relations between the consumer and the merchant are not regulated by the provisions of the Law, the Law on Contracts and Torts shall be applied. When interpreting and applying the Law, the position of consumers as economically weaker parties must be taken into account, and especially the position of vulnerable consumers.

 

 

*      Official Gazette of the RS, no 88/2021 dated 11 September 2021

**    The consumer has no right to withdraw from the contract in case of delivery of goods produced according to special requirements of the consumer or in case the goods are clearly personalized

***   With the exception of furniture and technical good – the deadline is 30 days

**** Unless agreed otherwise

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