The Government of Serbia has adopted the Bill on Consumer Protection, News
These regulations have not changed substantially since 2014, and they bring changes that should improve the position of customers on the market.
At the last session, the Government of Serbia adopted the Bill on Consumer Protection, which will correct all observed shortcomings of the current law and enable further harmonization with European regulations.
As it is stated, the new legal solution will correct essential shortcomings, such as the lack of a functional institutional framework for out-of-court settlement of consumer disputes, the lack of a precise number of consumer disputes before courts, insufficient protection of passengers (consumers) in the field of tourism that has a deterrent effect and the need for a higher level of responsibility and publicity in the work of associations, federations and the Consumer Protection Council.
The implementation of the new law will harmonize the consumer rights of Serbian citizens with the new regulations of the European Union on travel in package arrangements and related travel arrangements, which will provide greater protection for consumers.
These are draft regulations that were ready for adoption even before the pandemic was declared, and it was expected that Serbia would start amending the law, since the regulations concerning consumer protection have not been substantially changed since 2014. Minor changes were made in 2016 and 2018.
The National Organization for Consumer Protection (NOPS) welcomes the change in regulations because, as they say, there are a lot of doubts that should be resolved.
Goran Papovic, the president of NOPS, says that, however, the opportunity to introduce an arbitration court and return the collective lawsuit to the law was missed, and without that there is no quick solution to consumer problems and efficient protection of customers’ rights.
It is good that misdemeanor warrants will finally be introduced, which can be considered a kind of return of competencies to market inspectors. In the future, they will have the right to immediately punish traders for obvious crimes, or in case, for example, they do not respond to out-of-court settlement of consumer disputes, says NOPS legal advisor Mladen Alfirovic.
By the way, out-of-court settlement of disputes is another important novelty that the new law will bring. The intention of the state is to relieve the courts of such disputes and speed up the resolution of the problems that consumers in Serbia have.
– It is not only clear to us why the chapter on tourist services has undergone the most changes and why so many competencies are being transferred to this law, and not to the law on tourism. That part about tourism existed before in the regulations and there were a lot of problems, but now that chapter has been expanded with provisions, for example, on stricter conditions for agencies, giving up travel, etc. – Alfirovic points out.
He adds that there will certainly be a lot of work given the poor situation in the tourism sector. The new regulations partially change the rules that apply to complaints, and NOPS hopes that all ambiguities and problems that customers have had in practice so far will be removed, Politika reports.
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