Published inMonitorul Oficial al Romaniei No 427 / 11 June 2014, Government Emergency Ordinance No 34 / 2014, regarding consumers’ rights under contracts concluded with professionals, and amending and supplementing some legislative acts (hereinafter “Ordinance 34 / 2014”) focuses on the transposition of Directive 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on consumer rights into the national legislation. This Directive should have been transposed into the Romanian legislation ever since 13 December 2013.
Ordinance 34 / 2014 establishes several rights for consumers as regards information requirements which should be met by professionals under distance and off-premises contracts as well as under other contracts. The information provided by professionals shall be legible and in plain, intelligible language, unless the context is sufficiently conspicuous (e.g. the total price of the goods or services inclusive of taxes, or where the nature of the goods or services is such that the price cannot reasonably be calculated in advance, the manner in which the price is to be calculated, as well as, where applicable, all additional freight, delivery or postal charges and any other costs or, where those charges cannot reasonably be calculated in advance, the fact that such additional charges may be payable).
Professionals have the obligation to inform consumers of the publication of this Ordinance when approaching the subject of contracts for the supply of water, gas or electricity, where they are not put up for sale in a limited volume or set quantity, or of district heating, contracts for digital content which is not supplied on a tangible medium.
As regards the information requirements for distance and off-premises contracts, the professional shall provide the consumer with the following information:
* where applicable, the consumer will have to bear the cost of returning the goods in case of withdrawal while, in the case of distance contracts, the cost of returning the goods if such goods, by their nature, cannot normally be returned by post;
* where a right of withdrawal is not provided for in Ordinance 34/2011, the information that the consumer will not benefit from a right of withdrawal or, where applicable, the circumstances under which the consumer loses his right of withdrawal.
Contractual information shall be in the Romanian language in an intelligible form,so as to be easily understood by the consumer, without excluding the transmission of such information in other languages.
Ordinance 34 / 2014 establishes, inter alia:
* formal requirements for off-premises contracts;
* the obligation of trading websites to indicate clearly and legibly at the beginning of the ordering process, at the latest, whether any delivery restrictions apply and which means of payment are accepted;
* in the case of telephone calls, at the beginning of the conversation with the consumer, the trader shall disclose his identity and, where applicable, the identity of the person on whose behalf he makes that call, and the commercial purpose of the call;
* consumer’s right to withdraw from a distance contract or from an off-premises contract within a 14-day term, without giving any reason, and without incurring any additional costs;
* in the case of withdrawal, the professional shall reimburse all payments received from the consumer, including the costs of delivery, without undue delay and in any event not later than 14 days from the day on which he is informed of the consumer’s decision to withdraw from the contract;
* upon cancellation or termination of the contract, the professional shall reimburse all sums paid under the contract, without undue delay, within 7 days, at the latest, of the date on which the consumer notified the professional of his decision to terminate the contract;
* the consumer shall be exempted from the obligation to pay for unsolicited supply of goods, water, gas, electricity, district heating or digital content or unsolicited provision of services.
Professionals shall be prohibited from charging consumers fees that exceed the cost borne by such professionals for the use of a certain means of payment.
Any infringement of consumers’ rights as established under Ordinance 34 / 2014 shall be liable to penalties consisting of fines which may range from RON 1000 to RON 5000. It is the National Authority for Consumer Protection and the National Regulatory and Administration Authority for Communications that are legally qualified to identify infringements and apply penalties.
As an outcome of the enactment of this Ordinance, the following legislative acts are amended: Law No 193 / 2000 on abusive clauses in contracts concluded between professionals and consumers, Law No 449 / 2003, regarding sale of goods and related guarantees, Government Ordinance No 21 / 1992 on consumer protection, and Government Emergency Ordinance No 111 / 2011, regarding electronic communications.
Ordinance 34 / 2014 has come into force on 13 June 2014.
LEGAL ALERT by Duncea, Stefanescu & Associates / MAZARS
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