Changes in e-commerce and more – extending consumer protection to entrepreneurs who are natural persons

Until now, issuing an invoice for goods or services “for a company” was tantamount to recognising that the transaction was concluded as part of the activities of two professional entities (each legal action confirmed by an invoice issued to an entrepreneur was deemed to be an act directly related to their business or professional activity).

On 1st June 2020, the Act of 31st July 2019 to amend certain statutes and reduce regulatory burdens enters into force and amends the Civil Code and Consumer Rights Act. In certain situations, these amendments will extend the protection afforded to consumers to as to include entrepreneurs who are natural persons.

After their entry into force, some consumer protection provisions will also apply to natural persons who conclude contracts with other entrepreneurs which, albeit directly related to their business or professional activity, are not of their professional activities according to the business classifications contained in the CEIDG (Centralna Ewidencja i Informacja o Działalności Gospodarczej – Central Registry & Information about Business Activity).

Such entrepreneurs will be able to rely on the protection provided to consumers as regards:

  1. abusive contractual clauses (prohibited contractual provisions);
  2. warranty for defects (it will be possible to limit or exclude a seller’s liability under a warranty); and
  3. the right to withdraw from a distance or off-premises contract (under the Consumer Rights Act).

It should be noted that entrepreneurs entitled to such protection will not, however, be covered by the institutional protection provided to consumers by the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection and the President’s regional representatives.

How should you prepare for the upcoming changes?

The above amendments enter into force on 1st June 2020 and will apply to contracts concluded from that date. Until then, entrepreneurs who offer their goods and services to both consumers and entrepreneurs should primarily:

  1. adapt the provisions contained in their contractual templates (e.g. regulations of online stores, general conditions of sale, general conditions of contracts, price lists, tariffs, etc.) so as to apply to a newly-emerging, separate category of contractual counterparty,
  2. verify existing contractual templates to identify the use of prohibited contractual clauses and warranty rights,
  3. in the case of remotely concluded or off-premises contracts, suitably modify the provisions regarding potential withdrawal from such contracts.

The SSW Pragmatic Solutions team constantly monitors the legislative process and draft laws that may affect corporate management. We will keep you informed about any further significant legislative developments.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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