Serbian Parliament adopted the new Law on Consumer Protection on 9th September 2021 (the “Law“). The Law aims to enhance existing consumer rights by further harmonizing Serbian law with EU legislation and best practices.
While both its structure and majority of provisions remain unchanged compared to the previous law regulating consumer protection, the Law includes several major novelties such as:
- Establishment of a “do not call registry”, a registry of consumers who do not wish to receive calls or messages for the purpose of sale/ promotion, with an explicit ban to call or send messages to registered consumers. This further expands an already-existing ban on direct marketing without prior consent in line with regulations on advertising, consumer, and data protection. Irrespective of registration in the said registry, consent granted prior to or upon registration shall remain effective until revoked.
- For services with value exceeding RSD 5,000, the service provider must provide estimation of costs and specification of the service and obtain consumer’s written consent prior to commencing with the provision of services to such consumer.
- Competent courts must keep evidence of consumer disputes and provide the Ministry of Justice with annual updates on their number, duration, and judgments.
- introduction of an obligation of traders to take part in out-of-court settlement process, as well as to publish (at the point of sale) and provide to consumers the prescribed notifications on out-of-court settlement.
- Partial harmonization with the EU Directive on package travel and linked travel arrangements no. 2015/2302 by stipulating that, prior to conclusion of the contract, passengers are entitled to receive all information on the travel service and organizer, costs and payment options, health formalities and other prescribed data. Rights and obligations of travellers in cases of amendments and termination of the contract and protection in case of insolvency of travel organizer are also covered.
- Market inspectors may now directly impose monetary fines in fixed amount (misdemeanour orders) for certain prescribed misdemeanours which should ensure stricter application of the law.
The Law comes into force on 19th September 2021. However, its application starts upon expiry of three months upon its entry into force, i.e. on 20th December 2021. Provisions dealing with out-of-court settlement of consumer disputes shall become applicable as of 20th March 2022.
This text is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Feel free to contact us if you need additional information.
Marina Nikolić, partner