Regulations introducing new obligations to inform customers about reductions of prices for goods and services came into effect on 1 January 2023.
The key rules include:
- the requirement to announce a price reduction in a manner that allows customers to compare the reduced price with prices in effect in the period of 30 days before the reduction,
- the need to apply the new rules of announcing price reduction, regardless of the selling channel (online or offline)
- ·new price reduction obligations applied to both goods and services.
UOKiK runs a check for the first time
Back in January 2023, the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) inspected 40 e-commerce businesses to see if they follow the new guidelines. UOKiK found a number of irregularities, including, e.g. failure to present the lowest price for goods or services applicable in the last 30 days before the price reduction, or presenting prices in a manner that mislead customers. UOKiK announced that it will continue its inspections.
Guidelines on price reductions and further inspections
At the beginning of May 2023, UOKiK published detailed guidelines on how, in its opinion, the new provisions should be interpreted. It is worth noting that the guidelines presented by UOKiK differ significantly from UOKiK’s initial approach in this respect.
For example a stricter approach is applied to:
- the use of colours in labels on which the prices of goods are presented,
- the number of prices presented for a given product,
- the application of new rules to loyalty programs announced individually (e.g. by e-mail) to program participants,
- the application of new rules to bundle and conditional sale, if the offer contains information about price reduction of a particular product,
- liability of online trading platforms (intermediaries) for making information about the lowest price in the last 30 days visible.
In practice, the publication of the new guidelines mean that businesses are required to:
- revise their current model of communicating price reductions and organising promotions and sale,
- adjust their business processes, including online and offline sales processes,
- adjust their terms and conditions and policies to the specified requirements.
UOKiK’s new guidelines on communicating price reductions are available here: https://uokik.gov.pl/download.php?plik=27128.
UOKiK has announced that further inspections will be carried out in the second half of 2023 to check whether businesses are following the new guidelines.
The Intellectual Property team at Bird & Bird’s Warsaw office closely monitors UOKiK’s activities on interpreting the provisions on communicating reduction of prices for goods and services. You are welcome to contact us on any aspect of e-commerce.
For further information, please contact:
Pawel Lipski, Partner, Bird & Bird