Innovations in the field of consumer protection

As of 1st of January 2022, the Republic of Slovenia is late with regard to the implementation of European directives that bring innovations in the field of consumer protection. The main legislative changes stem from Directive on certain aspects concerning contracts for the sale of goods (2019/771/EU), Directive on certain aspects concerning contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services (2019/770/EU) and Directive (2019/2161/EU) on better enforcement and modernisation of Union consumer protection rules  (hereinafter collectively: “Directives”). Consumer protection in the Republic of Slovenia is regulated by the Consumer Protection Act (hereinafter: “ZVPot”) and the Consumer Protection against Unfair Commercial Practices Act. The following article is a summary of the most significant changes that can be expected with the amendment to the ZVPot.

The ZVPot currently stipulates that the consumer is free to choose between claims based on a material defect. Namely, the Slovenian legislator did not transpose the provision of the third paragraph of Article 3 of Directive 1999/44/EC into the ZVPot, which determined the hierarchy of customer claims. In practice, this means that the consumer can immediately withdraw from the contract in the event of a material defect. The transposition of the Directive on certain aspects of contracts for the sale of goods will change this, as the latter introduces a hierarchy of consumer claims against the seller for non-conformity, where the consumer can first request repair or replacement of non-conforming good and only then reduce the purchase price or terminate the contract. However, the consumer will have the right to terminate the contract immediately if the non-conformity of the goods occurs within 30 days of delivery of the goods. Among the major innovations, Directive on certain aspects concerning contracts for the sale of goods introduces an extension of burden of proof reversal period from 6 months to 1 year (the first year after delivery of the goods). This is the period during which the seller must prove that the defect in the goods did not exist at the time of delivery of the goods. Last but not least, Directive on certain aspects concerning contracts for the sale of goods introduces a right of recourse for sellers who fulfil a consumer claim against the responsible companies in the contract chain.

The transposition of Directive on certain aspects concerning contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services on certain aspects concerning contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services will re-regulate contracts for the supply of digital content or digital services, namely the fulfilment of contracts for the supply of digital content or digital services, conformity of digital content or a digital service or their changes. This directive will also transpose the obligation for companies to provide the necessary updates to digital content or digital services, including security updates.

The transposition of Directive on better enforcement and modernisation of Union consumer protection rules seeks to improve the enforcement and modernization of Union rules on consumer protection. Thus, the obligation of companies to indicate the previous lowest price in the last 30 days and the reduced price when offering discounts will now apply. False giving of consumer ratings and recommendations will also be prohibited. Short deadline for termination of the contract, cooling off period, will be extended from 14 to 30 days for unsolicited visits by a trader to a consumer’s home or excursions organised by a trader with the aim or effect of promoting or selling products to consumers for the purpose of protecting legitimate interests of consumers with regard to aggressive or misleading marketing or selling practices. In the case of cross-border infringements, the supervisory authorities will be able to impose a fine of up to 4% of the company’s annual turnover.

With the transposition of the Directives, the Republic of Slovenia will follow the European pursuit of ​​ensuring a high level of consumer protection, but in the opinion of the European Commission a lot of work will be needed on consumer and trader awareness to exercise existing remedies more often.

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