Key Takeaways from Serbia’s New Consumer Protection Act

October 25, 2021

Key Takeaways from Serbia’s New Consumer Protection Act

October 25, 2021

Milan Samardžić

Milan Samardžić

Partner

Nikola Dragić

Nikola Dragić

Junior Associate

On 9 September 2021, the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia enacted the new Consumer Protection Act (the “Act”). The primary aim of the Act is the improvement of consumers’ rights and harmonization with EU legislation.

Some of the key novelties prescribed in the Act are:

 

Introduction of a “Don’t call” register

 

The Act introduces a “Don’t call” register (the “Register“) for consumers that don’t want to receive commercial calls from traders. Consumers may submit a request to the electronic communications operator in order to have their telephone number signed in the Register. The register will contain consumers’ names, personal identification numbers, telephone numbers, and registration dates. Registration in the Register will be free of charge. If a trader calls a consumer listed in the Register for commercial purposes, it will be considered a misdemeanour liability.

 

Introduction of a mandatory preliminary estimation for providing services whose value surpass RSD 5,000

 

When providing services with a value greater than RSD 5,000, the seller is obliged to make a preliminary estimate with the specification of the service. Before conducting the service, the seller must obtain written consent from the customer. If the price is agreed on the basis of the seller’s explicit statement for the exactness of the estimation, the seller can’t request a price increase. However, if the price is negotiated without the explicit statement of the seller for the accuracy of the estimation, the seller can’t request an increase of the price of more than 15% of the estimation (unless otherwise agreed).

 

The out-of-court dispute resolution mechanism

 

The Act also defines the mechanism of out-of-court dispute resolution as an alternative way of resolving consumer disputes. An out-of-court procedure before a competent body can be initiated by a consumer only if he has previously filed a complaint or objection to the trader. The trader is obliged to participate in the procedure of out-of-court settlement of consumer disputes. The out-of-court procedure can last no longer than 90 days from the day of submission of the proposal, and, in exceptional cases, this period may be extended for up to additional 90 days. The Act prescribes that the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications will form a list of competent bodies. Participation in out-of-court proceedings doesn’t exclude or affect the exercise of the right to judicial protection and the right of consumers to claim damages in court proceedings. Additionally, if the trader doesn’t take part in the out-of-court procedure, the market inspectors may impose a penalty in the amount of RSD 50,000.

 

Establishment of records of consumer disputes

 

The Act prescribes a novelty in tracking consumer disputes before the competent courts. Those cases will be marked in a specific manner in order to keep track of their total number in the Republic of Serbia.

 

Contract termination due to non-performance of the delivery

 

In case of non-performance of the delivery within previously agreed time limits, the Law stipulates that the contract shall be deemed terminated ipso iure. In addition, the seller is obliged to return the total paid amount to the consumer at the latest three days from the day of termination of the contract.

 

Harmonization with Directive (EU) 2015/2302 on package travel and linked travel arrangements

 

The Act introduces new regulations for the protection of passengers in the field of tourism. A significant novelty that the Act envisages is that the passengers are to be informed about any other costs not included in the single selling price of the tourist trip. If the organizer, i.e. intermediary, doesn’t provide the passenger with full-precontractual information about the costs, the passenger is not obliged to bear those costs. Besides, the organizer of the trip shall be held liable for any mistakes that occur during the booking process resulting from technical deficiencies.

 

Longer statute of limitation for initiating misdemeanour proceedings

 

The Law stipulates that, instead of a general statute of limitation of two years, misdemeanour proceedings for infringement of the collective interests of consumers may be initiated within three years of the misdemeanour being committed.

 

Enforcement of the Law

 

The Law begins to apply three months after it enters into force, i.e. from 11 December 2021 except for the provisions related to the out-of-court settlement of consumer disputes which start applying six months after the entry into force of the Law.

 

 

 

This text is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Should you require any additional information, feel free to contact us.

Contact:

Milan Samardžić, Partner
milan.samardzic@sog.rs

Nikola Dragić, Junior Associate
nikola.dragic@sog.rs

OTHER NEWS

Remote Work in Serbia – FAQ

Remote Work in Serbia – FAQ

 More and more companies are adopting work-from-home policies. What has been a necessary consequence of the pandemic has shown its benefits for the employers, both in terms of increased productivity and savings from not needing to rent premises. Below are some of...

read more

Let's connect

Let us know how we can help you and your business.