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New consumer protective rules of the European Union shall enter into force on 28 May 2022

From 28 May 2022, Directive 93/13/EEC on unfair terms in consumer contracts will be supplemented by new rules aimed primarily at combating unfair commercial practices prevalent on the internet.
Although the entry into force of the amendments may seem distant, their significance justifies a brief presentation, thus we have summarized the changes below:

The most important change concerns the thus termed coordinated action against unfair commercial practices against consumers in several Member States of the European Union (“EU”), which Member States may apply on the basis of Regulation (EU) No 2017/2394. In the event of a coordinated action, the authorities of the Member States shall impose a consumer protection fine equalling at least the following amount:
  a) at least 4 % of net annual turnover of the business,
  b) if the annual turnover of the business cannot be determined, at least EUR 2 million.

According to the legislative changes implementing the new rules of the Directive in Hungarian law, in the future the following shall also be considered unfair commercial practices:
1. Providing search results in response to a consumer’s online search without clearly disclosing any paid advertisement or payment specifically for achieving higher ranking within the search results.
2. Reselling tickets to consumers if the trader acquired them by using automated means to circumvent limits imposed on the number of tickets that a person can buy or any other similar rules.
3. Stating that reviews of a product are submitted by consumers who have actually used or purchased the product without the trader checking that they originate from such consumers.
4. Submitting or commissioning another person to submit false consumer reviews or endorsements, or misrepresenting consumer reviews or social endorsements, in order to promote products.

In accordance with the amendments, the practice of marketing any products in one EU Member State as being identical to a product marketed in other Member States, while that product has significantly different composition or characteristics, shall be considered a misleading commercial practice, unless justified by legitimate and objective factors.

Furthermore, the scope of material information shall also be extended, the withholding of which also constitutes misleading commercial practice. The following are considered material information:
a) for products offered on online marketplaces, whether the third party offering the products is a trader or not, on the basis of the declaration of that third party to the provider of the online marketplace,
b) If it is possible to search between products online, general information about the main parameters of the search (e.g. how the website determines the ranking of the displayed products and the relative importance of the parameters to each other),
c) If consumer reviews of products are available at the online marketplace, information about whether and how the trader ensures that the published reviews originate from consumers who have actually used or purchased the product.

Businesses operating an online marketplace, a webshop, or otherwise selling online to consumers have nearly a year and a half to ensure that their commercial practices are compliant with the above rules until it enters into force.