New Obligations From Omnibus Directive For Marketplace Platforms. What Changes Have Appeared In Polish Law?

New Obligations From Omnibus Directive For Marketplace Platforms. What Changes Have Appeared In Polish Law?
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Omnibuses vs. sales platforms — Polish law has made a few changes. What changes exactly?

Consumers now need to be better informed than ever before. Despite the fact that platform administrators are not themselves de facto parties to the sales contract, they do have certain information obligations.

How should Internet users be informed?

What is the Omnibus Directive?

The Omnibus Directive, introduced in April 2019, is a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council that strengthens consumer protection rules. It introduces several new obligations for sales and marketplace platforms, including:

- The obligation to provide clear and concise information to consumers about their rights;

- The obligation to inform consumers about the existence of dispute resolution mechanisms;

- The obligation to facilitate the exercise of consumer rights;

- The obligation to take measures to prevent or mitigate unfair commercial practices;

- The obligation to take measures to ensure the safety of online transactions.

Omnibus Directive in Poland

Omnibus Directive has introduced several new obligations for sales and marketplace platforms in Poland.

  • Firstly, platforms must now ensure that their terms and conditions are fair and transparent to consumers.
  • Secondly, platforms must provide consumers with clear and concise information about the main characteristics of the products or services being offered for sale.
  • Finally, platforms must allow consumers to cancel their purchase within 14 days without giving a reason.

These new obligations are intended to protect the rights of consumers in Poland and ensure that they are treated fairly by online marketplaces.

The Omnibus Directive also provides for sanctions against platforms that do not comply with its provisions.

Omnibus Directive — new article in the law

Omnibus Directive is the next step in consumer rights development for sales platforms.

Polish domestic law has already been subject to a number of changes since 1st January  2023 as a result of its implementation.

The newly added Article 12a of the Consumer Rights Act deals with additional obligations to provide information.

In particular, the new regulations apply to administrators (providers) of sales platforms.

When does the information obligation arise?

According to the new regulations, when the consumer expresses a willingness to enter into a distance contract.

Information should be in a form that corresponds to the distance communication method (usually textual information on a website). Content must be clear and easy to understand.

In this information, four points correspond to the points of Article 12a, paragraphs 1–4 of the law.

In the first place, the platform provider must explain the main parameters of the placement on the bidding page, along with the criteria used (as well as their relative importance).

It does not mean revealing all the algorithms’ rules but rather general information.

It is all about promoting specific offers and informing the user about why he sees this particular offer at the top of the search results. In most cases, just telling the user that the search result is in fact an advertisement is sufficient.

What else Omnibus Directive says?

The sales platform provider must now inform its users whether a third party offering goods, services, or digital content qualifies as an entrepreneur.

When the vendor is not a trader, they should be informed that consumer rights will not apply.

Further, where obligations to consumers are shared between an online shopping platform provider and a third party offering goods, services or digital content, these obligations’ scope must be detailed.

This is necessary for the sake of clarity and to ensure compliance with the law.

In article, we can read:

  • “This requirement will only apply if the obligations to consumers are shared between the provider of the online shopping platform and a third party offering goods, services or digital content. For example, the provider of the trading platform may be responsible for the delivery of the goods, and the third party will be responsible for the compliance of the performance with the contract.”

Thus, when the provider of an online trading platform assumes responsibility for compliance with certain contractual rights of consumers (e.g., right of withdrawal, delivery), it should then specify in detail the scope of its obligations.

Further, where obligations to consumers are shared between an online shopping platform provider and a third party offering goods, services or digital content, these obligations’ scope must be detailed.

This is necessary for the sake of clarity and to ensure compliance with the law.

Conclusion

In summary, the Omnibus Directive has introduced several new obligations to consumers and marketplace platforms in Poland.

These include more stringent data protection requirements, a wider scope for consumer rights to be enforced against traders, as well the need to give more information for customers in marketplace platforms.

With these changes now firmly in place, it is hoped that Polish consumers will enjoy greater safety and protection when engaging with digital marketplaces going forward.