New Consumer Rights Act
The Consumer Rights Act of May 30, 2014, enters into force on December 25, 2014. The act imposes new informational obligations on businesses in their dealings with consumers and also makes major changes in Polish warranty and guarantee regulations.
In the case of contracts concluded in the traditional manner—e.g. in a store—the list of information that must be provided to the consumer is much less extensive than in the case of off-premises and distance contracts. If a business concludes a contract outside of business premises or at a distance, it is required to provide the consumer, among other things, information about the main characteristics of the goods or services, the seller’s identification data, the rules for exercising the right to withdraw from the contract, the costs of using distance communications for conclusion of the contract (if higher than the basic rates), the seller’s obligation to provide items free from defects, the existence of codes of conduct binding on the seller and how to access them, and the ability to pursue out-of-court complaint and redress mechanisms and how to access them. These examples of information to be provided to consumers are just part of a longer list that includes over 20 items. If certain information is not provided, the act imposes severe sanctions on businesses. Moreover, the Code of Petty Offenses provides that failure to perform the obligation to provide information as required in the Consumer Rights Act constitutes a petty offense punishable by a fine.
As is now the case, after entry into force of the new act a consumer who has concluded an off-premises contract or distance contract will have a right to withdraw from the contract. The new act extends the period for exercising the right to withdraw to 14 days. The time from which this period begins to run will also change. The act introduces rules concerning costs incurred in connection with return of an item when exercising the right to withdraw from the contract and the possibility of charging such costs to the consumer, and also specifies instances when the consumer’s right to withdraw from the contract may be excluded.
After entry into force of the new Consumer Rights Act, the Civil Code provisions concerning warranty (rękojmia) will be applicable to consumers, although some issues in this area will be regulated differently for consumers. For example, the possibility of expansion, exclusion or limitation of warranty liability in dealings with consumers is expressly excluded, except where expressly permitted by specific regulations. The new act specifies also the wording of the guarantee certificate (oświadczenie gwarancyjne).
If you require our assistance in this respect, please contact our advocate Michał Chodkowski (firstname.lastname@example.org) or our tax adviser and advocate Aleksandra Faderewska-Waszkiewicz (email@example.com).