Czechia Amends Consumer Protection Act, Strengthens Consumer Rights

Czechia has amended its consumer protection act to ensure better protection of vulnerable groups of customers when concluding contracts over the phone, ‘doorstep’ sales and organised sales events, according to a press release by the Czech commerce and tourism confederation, SOCR ČR.

Industry and trade minister Jozef Síkela, said, “Shopping should also be more transparent. For example, consumers will no longer be able to be deceived about the amount of the discount offered. When shopping online, they must know who they are contracting with and will also be protected from fake reviews.

“The amendment will contribute to strengthening consumer rights, but in a number of places it also aims to refine the legislation so that the selected rules are more workable in practice.”

The law, which came into force on 6 January, will see expanded and additional possibilities to defend against unfair commercial practices.

The new unfair commercial practices include, among others, publishing false consumer reviews or misrepresenting them on social media to promote a service or product on offer.

According to the new provisions, if a consumer is a ‘victim’ of an unfair commercial practice, the law now allows them to withdraw from the contract within 90 days of its conclusion.

Alternatively, the consumer may request a reasonable reduction in the price to the extent appropriate to the nature and gravity of the unfair commercial practice. The more serious the unfair commercial practice, the higher the discount the consumer can demand, SOCR ČR noted.

Misleading Discounts

The amended law also has provisions to protect consumers from being misled about the amount of discounts offered.

The regulation aims to protect consumers from artificial price increases and deception about the amount of the discount provided and requires businesses to state the lowest price at which goods have been sold for 30 days before they are discounted.

However, this obligation does not apply to goods that are perishable or have a short shelf, such as fresh food, ready meals, cut flowers, among others.

The amended law also gives shoppers more time to withdraw from contracts concluded during ‘doorstep’ sales, or at sales events, as the period has been extended to 30 days from 14.

For contracts concluded over the phone, businesses need to obtain confirmation from consumers in text by sending the offer by letter or e-mail and getting a confirmation electronically or in paper.