New Amendments to the Consumer Protection Act in January 2023: National Implementation of the Omnibus Directive Leading to Major Changes for Businesses

At the turn of the year, we discussed how the Consumer Protection Act (38/1978, as amended) is entering the digital age following the implementation of the EU’s Sales of Goods Directive (2019/771) and the Digital Content and Digital Services Directive (2019/770) into national legislation (see here and here). Now, further amendments lie ahead when the so-called Omnibus Directive (2019/2161) is implemented into national legislation. The new provisions of the Consumer Protection Act will enter into force on 1 January 2023 in order to allow companies to prepare for the new requirements.

The Omnibus Directive aims to improve remedies for consumers, remove any shortcomings and inconsistencies of the provisions and lay down penalties in the event of infringements of certain directives. In this article, we will highlight the key amendments based on the Omnibus Directive of which businesses trading with consumers should be aware.

Reforms on price reduction announcements

Amendments to chapter 2 section 11 of the Consumer Protection Act will revise the regulation on price reduction announcements.

New extensions to the right of withdrawal in door-to-door selling

The new provision in chapter 6 of the Consumer Protection Act includes extensions to the consumers’ right of withdrawal in door-to-door selling. In this respect the regulation is purely national and not based on the Omnibus Directive.

Regulation on consumer reviews

The Omnibus Directive also affects the consumer reviews published by the businesses themselves.

1. provide fake consumer reviews or endorsements;

2. purchase reviews or endorsements;

3. misrepresent consumer reviews or social endorsements.

Information requirements for marketplace providers

The Consumer Protection Act will also include new information requirements for providers of online marketplaces. An ‘online marketplace’ means a virtual marketplace that allows consumers to conclude distance contracts with other consumers or businesses.

Compensation for damages caused by unfair marketing and practices

Following the Omnibus Directive, consumers may have the right to compensation for any damage caused by the business to the consumer by unfair marketing or unfair commercial practices. This kind of damage can, for example, include travel expenses incurred by the consumer. In addition, the consumer may be entitled to a reasonable price reduction if the trader has acted unfairly, for example by marketing aggressively or misleadingly.

Written confirmation procedure for telemarketing

Parliament has also accepted new legislation on telemarketing, which also enters into force on 1 January 2023. This national regulation is not based on the Omnibus Directive.

This regulation will include an obligation to implement a written confirmation procedure. In other words, after making an offer to a consumer during a call, telemarketers would, in principle, have to provide the consumer with the offer in a permanent form, for example as an email attachment. Unless the consumer accepts the offer in a permanent manner after the call, the contract is not binding on the consumer. Neglecting to use the confirmation procedure could result in penalty payments for the trader.