Out-of-court settlement of consumer disputes
Authors: Mgr. Michal Nulíček, LL.M., Mgr. et Mgr. Ing. Jan Tomíšek, CIPP/E, Mgr. Ondřej Kašpar
Do you inform your customers about out-of-court settlement of consumer disputes in the terms and conditions? Section 14 of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) lays down an obligation to inform consumers about the body in charge of the out-of-court settlement of disputes. However, providing this information as such means fulfilling only one of the duties surrounding informing customers, for the act also lays down certain requirements regarding the form in which this information must be provided to the customer, which has also recently been commented on by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in case C 380/19.
According to section 14 of the CPA, a businessman must give information on out-of-court settlements of disputes both on the websites operated by him and in the terms and conditions referred to in the contract. According to the CJEU, the businessman should fulfill his duty by giving this information in the terms and conditions if they are available on the website. On the other hand, neither giving the required information in other publicly available documents or in another part of the website, nor providing consumers with this information upon the conclusion of a contract outside the website, would suffice to fulfill the duty.
This conclusion should not be taken lightly, as confirmed among other things by the statistics of the Czech Trade Inspection Authority, according to which nearly 6% of all sanctions over the last 3 years have been imposed exactly for the breach of this legal obligation.