EU OMNIBUS Directive – for better consumer protection

The provisions of the new Directive of the European Parliament and the EU Council  (EU) 2019/2161) become effective on May 28th, 2022, imposing new important obligations on sellers related to the information provided to customers before the conclusion of the purchase contract. The aim is to safeguard the consumers’ rights by increasing the transparency of the offer. Moreover, the directive aims to lead to better enforcement of consumer rights. 

The introduced regulations are of particular importance for eCommerce sales, as they concern, inter alia, opinions about products in the online store, the position of offers in search results, and product price history. They will have an impact on many marketing, advertising, promotional, and sales activities as well as on the pricing policy. 

No more raising prices before the sale! 

One of the most important changes concerns the reduction of unfair sales and promotions. The store that informs about the price reduction is obliged to provide the lowest price of the product, for at least the last 30 days back. If the product was sold for a shorter period, the lowest price at which the product was displayed from the moment it was put on sale should be given. Such information must be included both directly next to the product, in a stationary or online store, and also advertisements for products or services presenting prices. 

Personalized prices? 

Many online stores use algorithms that adjust prices to individuals or groups of consumers. Of course, depending on the criteria used, it can be either a price reduction or a price increase. Under the new regulations, in such a case, the client must obtain clear and comprehensible information if the store operates with personalized sales prices. 

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Why is this particular product proposed to me? 

Another important requirement is the need to contain clear information about the essential parameters that determine offers’ positioning. This applies, inter alia, to the position of a given offer in the search results: based on which indicators the quality of products is assessed, what is the seller’s position in the ranking, how attractive the visual side of the offer is, the level of customer service, etc. This should result in maximum customer awareness of why this, not another product is offered to him. In the case of sales platforms, this also concerns the information if the online search result is not based on payment by a third party. 

User feedback only! 

The purpose of this regulation is to cut the practice of writing reviews on a seller’s request. From now on, product reviews that will appear on the store’s website must be real. In this case, the Omnibus Directive obliges the shop to verify and explain how it ensures that the reviews come from real consumers who have purchased and used the products. Reviews about products on the store’s website, whose authors are not their buyers, other false comments, and recommendations will be treated as unfair business practices. 

Information about the trader on the sales platform 

This provision is of particular importance for sales platforms. The Omnibus Directive obliges the platform provider to provide information on whether the seller is an entrepreneur and to provide a clear explanation of how the responsibility is shared between the seller and the platform provider. These regulations are intended to enable the consumer to understand the obligations of individual parties resulting from the transaction, including precise information about the complaint process. 

How to prepare for the implementation of the regulations? 

The changes resulting from the Omnibus Directive pose challenges to online stores, platforms, and online traders, concerning changes in regulations, tools for documenting the history and principles of pricing, and verification of opinions. Violations of the provisions of the new directive may result in severe financial penalties, including the allegation of unfair business practices, punishable by a fine of up to 10% of turnover (PL). Therefore, it is worth using solutions to collect and present the required data in a useful form. Brandly360 offers a key data collection service. This helps online traders in two ways: by providing information useful in pricing, verifying comments, or positioning offers, but also as a third-party price data collection service, to safeguard in case of doubt about the correct application of the Omnibus Directive requirements. 

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