B2C : more protection for consumers - Belgium implements the Omnibus Directive
02/06/2022

Today, the Act of 8 May 2022 amending books I, VI and XV of the Code of Economic Law (hereafter “Omnibus Act”) has been published in the Official Gazette. The Omnibus Act implements into Belgian law the Directive (EU) 2019/2161. The latter aims to modernize and better enforce the existing framework for consumer protection in Europe (as a reminder, link to our previous e-zine: here).

Even if it was only published today, the Omnibus Act entered into force on 28 May 2022 and does not provide for a transitional period. 

As an undertaking, you might want to review and/or amend your commercial practices in light of the new provisions. 

In this e-zine, you will find some useful information that can help you with such task. 

MODERNIZATION: KEY AMENDMENTS AND/OR NOVELTIES

The Omnibus Act provides for a broad range of measures protecting consumers. The key takeaways can be summarized as follows:

  • Extension of consumer protection to digital services : protective measures, such as obligations regarding pre-contractual information and right of withdrawal, have been extended to consumer contracts regarding digital content or digital services, even if they “pay” with personal data instead of money. 
  • Announcement of price reductions must refer to the lowest price applied by the undertaking during a 30-days period prior to the application of the price reduction. If a product is on the market for less than 30 days, the reference price will be the lowest price applied by the undertaking during a period of at least seven days prior to the price reduction.
  • Pre-contractual obligations for online marketplaces : the latter are obliged to provide specific information to consumers in a clear and comprehensible manner, such as:
    • information on the parameters for determining the ranking of offers presented to a consumer (also explicitly disclosing paid advertisement and/or payments that have been made to achieve a better ranking), 
    • whether or not the third party offering the goods, services or digital content is an undertaking and, 
    • if it is not an undertaking, the fact that consumer protection legislation stemming from EU law does not apply.
    • Withdrawal : the consequences for the content that a consumer has provided when using digital content or digital services, if the latter were to exercise its right of withdrawal, are now detailed. 

Extended list of practices that could be / are considered misleading :

  • If prices are personalized by means of automatic decision-making, consumers should be made aware thereof. 
  • Marketing a product in one Member State as being identical to a product marketed in other Member States, when the composition or the characteristics of such product are significantly different, is prohibited (unless justified by legitimate and objective factors).
  • Undertakings should provide information on whether and how they ensure that product reviews originate from consumers that actually purchased their products and are prohibited to claim that reviews were made by their consumers if they do not take such measures. 

ENFORCEMENT: PENALTIES

The Omnibus Act introduces (non-exhaustive) indicative criteria that should be considered when penalties are imposed. Such criteria include, but are not limited to, the nature, seriousness, extent and duration of the infringement, the measures taken by the undertaking to limit the damage suffered by consumers and the undertaking's previous infringements (if any).

Moreover, the penalties for infringements of consumer protection legislation, as set out in the Code of Economic Law, have been increased. As of now, penalties up to 6% of an undertaking’s annual turnover (or a maximum of 2 million EUR if information on that undertaking’s annual turnover is unavailable) can be imposed. 

Zie ook : Lydian ( Ms. Olivia Santantonio ,  Mr. Ruben Van Breugel )

[+ http://www.lydian.be]

Ms. Olivia Santantonio Ms. Olivia Santantonio
Counsel
[email protected]
Mr. Ruben Van Breugel Mr. Ruben Van Breugel
Associate
[email protected]

Click here to see the ad(s)
Alle artikels Handelspraktijkenrecht

Laatste artikels Handelspraktijkenrecht

Are you accountable for any human rights violations in your value chain?
27/07/2022

Even though Belgium is lagging behind when it comes to enacting specific legislation, companies doing business in Belgium ...

Are you accountable for any human rights violations in your value chain? Read more

Consumenten nog beter beschermd
11/07/2022

Onlangs zijn twee Europese richtlijnen omgezet door een wet betreffende de bescherming van de consument in het kader van o...

Consumenten nog beter beschermd Read more

New rules for B2C contracts: enforcement of consumer rights
06/07/2022

Over the past few weeks, in a series of articles, we have discussed the main changes to Belgian consumer law resulting fro...

Read more

Bouwmaterialen fors duurder en met vertraging geleverd. Hoe vangt u dat op?
05/07/2022

Het is een algemeen gekend probleem op de bouwwerf. Niet alleen zijn de materialen aanzienlijk in prijs gestegen, maar bov...

Bouwmaterialen fors duurder en met vertraging geleverd. Hoe vangt u dat op? Read more

Laatste artikels van Ms. Olivia Santantonio

Belgian B2C guarantee regime revised : new challenges for businesses
06/04/2022

A little late given transposition deadlines, Belgium has finally adopted an Act transposing two Directives relating to the...

Read more

What are the copyright and trademark implications of NFTs?
07/03/2022

NFTs and IP rights have certainly been a hot topic since the beginning of the year.

Read more

EDPB publishes guidelines on DSARs
18/02/2022

On 18 January 2022, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) published its draft Guidelines on the right of access&n...

Read more

Explicit consent for processing health-related data by (re)insurers no longer needed in Belgium?
21/01/2022

Yesterday, several press articles mentioned that the FPS Economy had prepared a preliminary draft law on the processing of...

Read more

Laatste artikels van Mr. Ruben Van Breugel

A clear position of the ECJ: zero support for zero tariff options
04/10/2021

A zero tariff option is a commercial practice whereby an internet access provider applies a ‘zero tariff’ (or ...

Read more

The E-Privacy Regulation: light at the end of the tunnel?
18/02/2021

On 10 February 2021, after years of failed attempts, the Council of the European Union finally agreed on a negotiating&nbs...

Read more

To what extent can artists use trademarks in their works?
15/11/2019

The Benelux Court of Justice (“BCJ”), an international court composed of magistrates from the highest courts o...

Read more

LexGO Network