On 12 July 2020, each EU Member State was obliged to adopt the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) 2019/1150 on promoting justice and transparency for business users using online intermediation services (hereinafter: Regulation).
The main idea in creating the document was mainly to aim for transparent and fair rules for the activities of online sales of services or goods. The Regulation regulate appropriate terms and conditions for online platforms offering goods and services. Due to the previously unclear and ambiguous regulations in this scope, small and medium-sized enterprises active in the field of online intermediation could not carry out their online activities fairly. The Regulation was intended to eliminate these many problems – was it really successful?
Who should pay attention to the Regulation?
The Regulation targets in particular to providers of online intermediation services and to a small extent also concerns internet search engines, which are responsible for providing and offering business-use services to users. It is therefore worth explaining who is defined as a provider of online intermediation services. It is any individual or legal person who is responsible for the provision of internet intermediary service and also who offers his service to a business user. It is also worth specifying here the concept of business consumer, which is defined by the use of a technical platform (e.g. created application).
It should therefore, be pointed out that the Regulation covers not only online platforms such as Allegro, but also applications such as Google Pay, Facebook, Instagram or even Booking. On the other hand, payment service or internet advertising is excluded from the Regulation.
In order to fully class cater to users who should be covered by the Regulation, it also indicates the conditions to be met by:
- their place of residence is in the EU,
- the purpose of the service is based on offering goods or services to consumers located in the EU.
New responsibilities – what do we need to pay attention?
The accept of the Regulation entails in particular with additional obligations on the part of the entities responsible for online platforms. Therefore, the additional obligations relate incl.:
- restrict, suspend or terminate the use of online intermediary services;
- conditions for the positioning of goods and services, as well as the promotion of own goods and services;
- new dispute resolution system.
The conditions of the use services and changes
In terms of the use of services, it is regulated issue by simple and concise language in cases of defining any conditions or statute. Undoubtedly until now, the issues of adequate understanding and setting of conditions or rules have not been properly explained to every consumer and some issues have been completely incomprehensible.
The Regulation point incl. to the obligation to determine clear amendments to the rules of statute or general conditions. This was undoubtedly important for consumers, who often has to think about understanding certain rules. Furthermore a 15-day deadline has been introduced for consumer notifications of possible changes to the existing rules applicable to a particular transaction. It also seems important to introduce the possibility for the consumer in case not to accept the changes and, in your case, he has the right to reject them and then terminate the contract before the expiry of the period.
Limitation, suspension or termination of the service
It is also a key regulation to introduce the need to justify possible changes to the restriction, suspension or termination of the provider’s use of services. A time limit has been introduced here, incl. in the case of termination of services, where the provider has been obliged to issue a decision and at least 30 days before the end of the service.
Positioning of goods and services
Conditions for the positioning of goods and services, which are referred to in the Regulation as ‘ranking of goods and services’, are also laid down. Users are obliged to justify incl. what parameters decided to give such a different weight to the search for goods on online platforms. In addition, the supplier is obliged to provide the specified parameter description.
An interesting solution also seems to be a well-thought-out and developed dispute resolution system. The regulation of this issue in each Member State this issue forcing on the entrepreneurs to develop a specific system that will be responsible for the smooth examination of complaints. The purpose of the system is to reduce the number of court cases, which services. Furthermore, it is also necessary to identify the parties to the dispute, the so-called mediators to help resolve the irregularities effectively. However, such a system is not required for entrepreneurs who have fewer than 50 employees in their company have no turnover of more than EUR 10 million.