On 1 January 2021, new regulations came into effect, forcing e-stores to make changes to their terms and conditions. The reason is the amendments made to the Polish Civil Code and the Polish Law on Consumer Rights. In certain situations, these legal acts now provide entrepreneurs operating a sole proprietorship with rights similar to those that have so far been vested only in consumers.
Who is a consumer?
According to Article 221 of the Polish Civil Code, a consumer is a “natural person engaging with an entrepreneur in a legal transaction that is not directly related to this person’s business or professional activities.”
In practice, this means that a person making a purchase for purposes directly related to its business is not covered with consumer protection.
A consumer e.g. may rescind an agreement within 14 days if the agreement had been executed remotely and is protected against abusive clauses, i.e. clauses whose use in agreements or terms and conditions is forbidden. So far, entrepreneurs were unable to enjoy these rights.
What are the changes about?
In e-commerce, persons operating a sole proprietorship should be treated as consumers if the purchase they are making is not directly related to the sector in which they do business. An entry in the PKD (Polish Classification of Activity) will help decide if the given purchase should be classified as a purchase made by a consumer or a purchase made by an entrepreneur. So far, a purchase directly related to business operations meant every action related to acquiring goods under an invoice, even if the product would not be directly used to operate the business.
Now, for instance a hairdresser may purchase a scanner or a document shredder under an invoice, even though her business makes no use of such devices. This way, the cost will be tax-deductible. Additionally, the hairdresser will have some of the rights that used to be vested only in consumers.
E-stores have not changed their terms and conditions
Following the above changes, the terms and conditions of e-stores should now recognize a third type of a buyer, in addition to an entrepreneur and a consumer. Unfortunately, eight out of ten online sellers have not updated their terms and conditions yet. Failure to comply with the obligation to inform, which concerns e.g. the right to rescind the agreement within 14 days, means that the deadline for returning the goods is extended to one year.
New regulations do not apply to brick-and-mortar stores. They only concern e-stores.
Would you like to know how to adjust the terms and conditions of your e-store to the recent legal changes? Or maybe you operate a business and would like to return the purchased goods in accordance with new rules? Contact us.