Revolutionary changes for online shops

By 28 May 2022, the European Union member states have been obliged to implement in their national legislation, the Directive (EU) 2019/2161 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 November 2019 amending Council Directive 93/13/EEC and Directives 98/6/EC, 2005/29/EC and 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the better enforcement and modernisation of Union consumer protection rules (OJ UE L 328 of 18.12.2019, p.  7), the so-called “Omnibus” Directive.

The purpose of the Omnibus Directive is to strengthen the effectiveness of existing consumer legislation and to modernise and improve certain consumer protection measures.

Here are some important changes which are introduced by the Omnibus Directive which will affect you if you are in the e-commerce industry:

  • where users of a website are allowed to comment on, review goods or services purchased by consumers – it will be necessary to provide information on how to verify the authenticity of reviews; removing and hiding negative reviews and discouraging their posting, as well as publishing or procuring the publication of fake reviews will constitute an infringement,
  • where products are marketed in more than one EU country – it will be necessary to ensure that the good (product) marketed in each country is identical, i.e. does not differ materially, e.g. in composition. A breach of this provision will be considered as misleading customers and an unfair market practice,
  • when adjusting the price to the consumer on the basis of collected data on the consumer’s preferences and behaviour (so-called profiling) – it will be necessary to inform the consumer of the individual price adjustment based on the information collected,
  • in the case of informing about a reduction in the price for goods or services – it will be necessary to provide, in addition to information about the reduced price, information about the lowest price for that goods or services that was in force in the 30-day period before the reduction was introduced,
  • for products which have been on sale for less than 30 days – it will be necessary to display the lowest price for that product in the period from the day the product was offered for sale until the reduction was introduced.

In addition to the Omnibus Directive, the EU member states have also been obliged to implement in their national laws the provisions of Directive (EU) 2019/771 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2019 on certain aspects concerning contracts for the sale of goods, amending Regulation (EU) 2017/2394 and Directive 2009/22/EC, and repealing Directive 1999/44/EC, i.e. the so-called “Goods Directive” and the Directive (EU) 2019/770 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2019 on certain aspects concerning contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services, i.e. the so-called  “Digital Directive”.

The provisions of the Goods and Digital Directives implement changes in, among other things, the regulation of the statutory warranty, i.e. the seller’s liability for the conformity of the supplied goods with the contract. The statutory warranty for consumers and entrepreneurs with consumers rights will be completely transferred from the Civil Code to the Consumer Rights Act. As for more significant changes, the Goods Directive abandons the concept of defect in goods and introduces a definition of conformity of goods with the contract. The provisions of the online sales terms and conditions will have to be updated in this respect.

The bill implementing the Omnibus Directive was referred on 12.07.2022 to the Legislative Office of the Chancellery of the Polish Parliament (Sejm) for its opinion, while the bill implementing the Goods and Digital Directive was referred on 6.07.2022 to consultations (to the Ombudsman for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises – RMiŚP).

At this point, the provisions of the directives have not been implemented into the Polish legislation, also their actual application is postponed until the above-mentioned laws enter into force. Entrepreneurs, therefore, still have time to adapt their business to the upcoming regulatory changes.

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