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Consumer protection: no more of the same products of different quality, a certain order of rights



Amendments to the Consumer Protection Act have entered into force

The new law on consumer protection is starting to be applied, which, among other things, determines the order of exercising consumer rights in the event of a material error or non-conformities of the goods: the consumer will thus first request the repair or replacement of the product with a new one.

The Consumer Protection Act, which was approved by the Parliament in October last year, transposes the provisions of three European directives into the Slovenian legal system, thereby ensuring unification of the level of consumer protection within EU member states. It also includes the provisions of the previously independent Act on the Protection of Consumers from Unfair Business Practices. The provisions of the old law continue to apply to all sales contracts concluded before today.

When asserting a factual error or non-conformity of goods, the new law introduces the order of asserting claims. While until now the consumer could freely choose whether to request a repair, exchange of the product, a proportional reduction or a refund of the entire purchase price, now he will be able to first request the seller to repair or replace the goods with a new and flawless one. Only if the seller does not fulfill this, he will be able to request a proportional reduction or refund of the entire purchase price.

In this respect, the consumer’s rights are decreasing, as he is significantly more limited in asserting claims, according to the Consumers’ Association of Slovenia.

If the defect becomes apparent within a maximum of 30 days, the consumer may reject the product

However, in the event of a material error, the consumer has according to the new non-conformity of the goods, which becomes apparent in less than 30 days after its delivery, you have the right to refuse. During this time, he can withdraw from the sales contract and request a refund of the purchase price, without having to first request the repair or replacement of the goods.

For the benefit of the consumer, the period during which the legal presumption that the non-conformity of the goods already existed at the time of delivery applies is being extended, from six months to one year. The law brings an important innovation in the field of warranty. From now on, this will be possible only with the guarantor, who is usually the manufacturer of the product, and in the case of imported products, also the importer and distributor. It will continue to be possible to assert warranty rights both with the manufacturer and with the seller of the product only for those products that were purchased before today.

The time limit within which the guarantor must correct errors is shortened. While the 45-day deadline for repairs used to apply, it is now 15 days shorter. This deadline may be extended by 15 days if the manufacturer informs the consumer about this before the expiry of the original deadline and at the same time gives him the reasons for the extension.

Different composition or characteristics are no longer allowed for the same product in different countries

The law prohibits double quality of goods, i.e. any marketing of goods in one Member State as the same goods marketed in other Member States, with significantly different composition or characteristics. Otherwise, the manufacturer will have to label the product differently, otherwise he faces a fine of 5,000 to 50,000 euros.

News in offering discounts

The obligation of companies to offer discounts is more clearly defined. When reducing the price of goods, they will have to mark both the previous and the reduced price, whereby the previous price is considered the lowest price that the company used in the last 30 days before the reduction.

There are also innovations in online shopping at online markets.  Photo: Shutterstock

The field of digital content and digital services and mandatory guarantees for their compliance are being regulated completely anew, as the current Consumer Protection Act did not have these provisions. The new law therefore also covers computer programs, various audio and video files, applications, digital games, data roaming and the like. The company must provide the necessary updates, and the consumer, similar to the sale of goods, has warranty claims available to establish compliance.

Online marketplaces must be more transparent from now on. Among other things, they will have to provide consumers with information on the parameters for classifying offers and on price adjustment based on automated decision-making (e.g. based on the creation of consumer profiles). The platform will also have to disclose when the higher ranking of the product is the result of the seller’s payment to the platform, so covert advertising will be prohibited.

Source: Rtvslo

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