New Consumer Protection Law Adopted

National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia has adopted the new Law on Consumer Protection on September 9, 2021, which entered into force on September 19, 2021. The new law begins to apply from December 20, 2021.

Some of the novelties in the new Law represent the obligation of the trader to make an estimate when providing services, as well as the establishment of records of consumer disputes in courts and the introduction of misdemeanour orders for certain misdemeanour of traders.

The purpose of this law is to further regulate the manner of resolving disputes between consumers and traders, where, unlike the current law, traders will have to get involved in out-of-court settlement of consumer disputes, if the consumer decides to initiate such a procedure. This procedure will be conducted before an impartial dispute resolution body whose detailed conditions for establishment and operation, as well as criteria for registration of bodies, reporting on work and remuneration for body work are regulated by the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications with the aim of transparent, efficient, fast and a fair way of resolving consumer disputes out of court. Proceedings before the Body are conducted free of charge, and the dispute may end with an agreement between the parties or a non-binding recommendation of the body on how to resolve the dispute.

In case of providing services whose value is higher than 5,000 RSD, the seller is obliged to make an estimate on a permanent record, together with the specification of services, as well as to obtain written consent of the consumer on estimate before providing services. In addition, in the event that the price is agreed on the basis of the seller’s explicit statement about the accuracy of the estimate, the seller must not request a price increase. Otherwise, that is, provided that the price is agreed without such an explicit claim, the seller cannot request a price increase of more than 15% of the estimate.

A special novelty is the introduction of a register maintained by the Regulatory Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services (hereinafter: RATEL), in which anyone who does not want to be harassed by traders on the phone and offered various products will be able to apply. It is prohibited to make calls or messages by telephone to consumers whose telephone numbers are entered in the register of consumers who do not wish to receive calls and messages as part of a promotion or sale by telephone. The register is kept at RATEL and contains the name and surname of the consumer, the unique identification number of the consumer, telephone number, date of entry in the register and information that previously given consents for receiving calls or messages within the promotion and sale by telephone are still in force or revoked. If the consumer has explicitly agreed to advertising by telephone, fax, e-mail or other means of distance communication, the trader is obliged to inform the consumer about the commercial purpose of the activity in a clear and unambiguous manner, in Serbian, before advertising a certain good or service.

Finally, the novelties in question include harmonization with EU regulations in the field of tourism, i.e. protection of passengers as consumers, as well as defining the conditions for providing a package of arrangements and services of related tourist arrangements, by introducing the possibility of issuing misdemeanour orders for misdemeanours committed in the subject area.

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