Changes to the Act on Consumer Protection have been approved

  • 22. September 2008
The Parliament of the Slovak Republic has approved an Amendment to the Act on Consumer Protection. According to the ministry, the amendment eliminates the inappropriate burden placed on the seller when handling consumer claims.

When reclaiming goods within the first twelve months after purchase, the seller can only deny a claim according to expert opinion. If the consumer claims a refund more than twelve months following the purchase and the seller declines that claim, the person handling the claim is obliged to provide the purchaser with information about where an expert opinion can be obtained.

The amendment also reacts to the introduction of the euro while ensuring the right to increased protection of consumer’s economic interests in this process.

The Party of Hungarian Coalition (SMK) MP Zsolt Simon criticized the government’s proposal as he thinks it strengthens the rights of the seller. “It’s not protecting the consumers”, Simon contended. He demurred at the fact that the proposal divides the 24-month refund period to two 12-month periods while the customer bears the costs for expert opinion of the reclaimed goods. “Is this not a transfer of burden from the seller to the consumer?” he asks. He has mentioned the European directive which states that the seller is responsible for the “compliance of the goods which hold a contract of two years” while the consumer has the right to free correction of the goods according to the contract, and can decide between the correction of goods or a replacement, and if not possible to a price reduction or a full refund. Simon, so far without success, has attempted to take this provision out of the government proposal.

Jahnátek described Simon’s words as misleading. According to him the 24-month period remains, only the question concerning the costs of an expert opinion of the reclaimed goods is to be changed. He also added that if it is proven that the flaw is caused by the producer, or the supplier, the costs are to be borne by these subjects. “After a year, if it is proven that the consumer has caused the flaws, the consumer bears the costs,” Jahnátek added. At the same time, the number of professional repair shops authorized to assess the claimed goods is set to increase.

(Source: SME, SITA; 18.09.2008)
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