On 30 January 2020, State Secretaries will discuss a draft law at a meeting to amend the Consumer Rights Protection Law. Although the amendments are still being prepared for submission to the Parliament, it is already clear that they will significantly supplement the rights and powers of the Consumer Rights Protection Centre (CRPC).
The amendments are expected to introduce the requirements of Regulation 2017/2394 to provide additional powers to authorities supervising and enforcing consumer rights protection. These include options to react to infringements committed in the internet environment.
Adjustments to consumer credit and related advertising
The draft law adjusts creditors’ obligations when they evaluate options to grant a loan. In particular, the plan is to remove the creditor’s obligation to obtain a statement from the State Social Insurance Agency or the State Revenue Service regarding the consumer’s income where the loan to be granted is EUR 100 or more. Instead, the creditor will be allowed to assess the need for this information in each case separately and irrespectively of the loan amount. To decrease the authorities’ administrative burden, the information is expected to be available from a credit information bureau.
Likewise, under the amendments, present restrictions on advertising for consumer credit will not apply to advertising study and student loans.
The authority of the Consumer Rights Protection Centre to protect consumers in the e-environment will be increased
The amendments are expected to supplement the law with a new chapter “Monitoring consumers’ collective interests” to summarise the authority of the CRPC more transparently, as well as to include rights arising from Regulation No. 2017/2394.
The amendments empower the CRPC to claim all information and evidence to clarify the essence of a case, irrespective of the manner, form or place of storage. This information includes data available to an electronic communications company about a subscriber or user, domain register information about a domain name user, as well as domain registration contracts. Likewise, the CRPC will be able to obtain information from the Account Register of the State Revenue Service and carry out test purchases and orders. Failure to provide information to the CRPC will be interpreted as a service provider’s inability to substantiate legal compliance of its operations.
In addition, a range of operations will be introduced to be carried out in cases when rights are infringed as a result of online operations. For example, in the absence of other options to eliminate harm to consumers’ collective interests, the CRPC can instruct an electronic communications company to restrict access to a website or transfer website visitors to another site displaying a consumer warning. Likewise, the CRPC will be entitled to ask the domain register to prohibit use of a particular domain name or to transfer the right to use the domain name to the CRPC. These decisions can be also taken in cases where evidence is lacking about losses caused to consumers or about the potential intention of an infringement.