The number of web shops continues to rise, totaling almost 57,000 in Belgium today. Of course, due to the coronapandemic, there is a very strong increase in 2020, but the increase continues. The European and national legislators therefore have no choice but to also modernize their legislation and adapt it to the needs of today. However, it has also taken the opportunity to further tighten consumer law.
We are happy to list the main changes for you:
Stricter guarantee scheme
The statutory warranty period remains set at two years. As of June 1, 2022, however, an essential element in how this warranty period should be viewed changes. Previously, during the first six months of the warranty period, it was presumed that the defect was due to a defect in the product itself and thus already existed at the time of delivery. This meant that during the first six months, the consumer could simply ask for the product to be repaired or replaced. Only when the company could prove that the defect was due to an act of the consumer could it refuse to do so. This six-month period is now increased to the full two years. The company will therefore have to be able to demonstrate throughout the warranty period that the defect did not exist at the time of delivery. In practice, this has often proved to be anything but simple. This will therefore mean that the company will have to repair or replace the product more often.
The legal warranty period for used goods remains one year. However, the company must explicitly inform the consumer of this shorter warranty period.
Extension of guarantee scheme to digital products and services
Whereas the two-year warranty scheme only applied to goods, it will now also apply to digital products (e.g. an app) and digital services (e.g. streaming service).
Ban on fake reviews
There will be an explicit ban on the publication of false reviews. In concrete terms, this means that before publishing a review on its web shop, the company must verify from where the review originates.
Expanded disclosure requirements for online marketplaces
The new regulations impose a more extensive information requirement on online marketplaces such as Catawiki, bol.com, etc. Thus, the consumer must know, before placing the order, with whom he is entering into a contract. More specifically: is the consumer entering into a contract with a private individual or with a company?
Important to add here is that you can very quickly be considered an online marketplace. As soon as others offer products/services on your webshop/platform, you qualify as an online marketplace.
Stating the original price in case of discounts
Finally, rules are imposed when you want to apply a discount to your product. In this case, you must state on your webshop the original price that you applied to the product in the thirty days prior to the discount. This was introduced to counter the practice whereby companies set the price of a product artificially high in order to be able to give a higher discount.
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