Important changes in consumer protection laws: from sanctions for the use of absolutely prohibited clauses to additional information duties
Portuguese Decree-Law no. 109-G/2021 published on last December 10, proceeds with the partial transposition of Directive (EU) 2019/2161 into the Portuguese legal order and amends several consumer protection rules contained in different diplomas.
We analyze below the main novelties that should be taken into account:
- Decree-Law No. 446/85, of October 25, which foresees the Portuguese Standard Contractual Clauses Regime, will now classify as an administrative offense the use of absolutely prohibited standard contractual clauses. This change is of special relevance since as until now the use of prohibited clauses only caused their nullity;
- Regulatory-Decree No. 38/2012 of April 10, will now foresee the competence of Direção Geral do Consumidor for supervising compliance with the Portuguese Standard Contractual Clauses Regime;
- Decree-Law No. 138/90, of April 26, which regulates the indication of the prices of goods intended for retail sale will now foresee, among other changes that any indication relating to a price reduction commercial practice, in respect of goods intended for retail sale, must indicate the lowest price previously practiced. The aim is to obtain greater transparency in the indication of prices whenever referring to sales, promotions or liquidations;
- Decree-Law No. 70/2007, of March 26, which regulates commercial practices with price reductions, will amend the definition of the lowest price previously practiced which now becomes the lowest price at which the product was sold in the last 30 consecutive days prior to the application of the price reduction. Thus, the reference for indicating the price that is currently situated in the 90 days prior to the application of the price reduction will change to 30 days. Additionally, the obligation to show in lists, labels and signs the lowest price previously practiced ceases to be alternative to the indication of the percentage of reduction.
- Decree-Law No. 57/2008, of March 26, which establishes the regime applicable to unfair commercial practices of companies in relations with consumers, will now foresee, among other amendments: (i) the duty of the online market provider to inform the consumer whether the third party offering the goods or services through its online market is or is not a professional; (ii) the duty of the online market provider to inform consumers on the parameters that are determinant for the classification of products presented to consumers further to a search; (iii) the duty to inform if the evaluations made by consumers which are made available were or not verified and in which way; (iii) the consumer’s right to an appropriate price reduction or to terminate the contract in case of an unfair commercial practice, among others;
- Decree-Law no. 24/2014, of February 14, regarding contracts entered into at a distance and off-premises, which, among other changes, will now provide for (i) the enlargement of its scope of application to certain contracts for the supply or render of digital services or services with digital contents; (ii) implementation of new requirements for pre-contractual information; (iii) extension of the term of the right of free withdrawal from 14 to 30 days in specific cases of contracts entered into off-premises, at the consumer's home or within the scope of organized tours, and, finally;
- Law No. 24/96, of July 31, which establishes the legal regime applicable to consumer protection (Portuguese Law for Consumer Defense) in which changes were introduced regarding the information to be provided to consumers, notably in the case of guarantees, after-sale services and the functionality of goods with digital elements.
This Decree-Law enters into force on May 28, 2022.