MPs pass consumer protection bill

Ljubljana – The National Assembly passed on Thursday a new bill on consumer protection, transposing three EU directives and introducing new provisions on remedies, digital content supply, and equal labelling of different-quality goods into Slovenian legislation.

The new bill aims to provide a high-level of customer protection, as well as stable, efficient, and appropriately supervised markets.

It will replace the existing consumer protection act as well as the consumer protection against unfair commercial practices act, ensuring high-level customer protection without unnecessarily burdening the economy, according to Economy Minister Matjaž Han.

Deputy groups agreed that the bill also necessitates the necessary changes regarding digital services and differences in the quality of goods on the market. It is also much clearer than the 1998 act, which has been amended multiple times, they said.

It will introduce a hierarchy of remedies regarding the non-conformity of goods. Consumers will now be able to withdraw from the purchase agreement if the non-conformity occurs in 30 days after the sale was made without having to file for repair or replacement first.

Another novelty of the bill is the seller’s right of recourse. A seller will be able to file a claim from the consumer against the responsible link in the supply chain.

The bill also proposes amendments to the agreement on the supply of digital content and services, setting forward the companies’responsibilities on providing key updates and how to proceed when a consumer commits to providing personal information in exchange for getting digital content or services.

Moreover, dual quality of goods will be prohibited, meaning goods of different qualities will have to be labelled accordingly instead of the same labels being used.

The bill is also much clearer on the responsibility of companies on how and when they should indicate the original and the reduced prices of products on sale.

There are also new provisions on on-line marketplaces, which will now have to provide consumers with information on parameters used to rank offers and on price adjustments based on automated decision-making, for example on consumer profiling.

The platform will also have to disclose when a higher ranking of a product is the result of a payment made by the seller to the platform, thus prohibiting covert advertising.

The new bill keeps the compulsory one-year manufacturer’s warranty for technical goods, giving the retailer and the consumer the right for the manufacturer to remedy a defect on the product free of charge. The manufacturer also still has to provide payable after-sale services for three years after the warranty expires.