12° Nicosia,
23 July, 2024

Consumer protection laws - 'Offers' that are real offers

How it benefits our shopping experience and how the law is evolving

by Andreas Kokkinos

Ms. Elena Papachristoforou, a consumer service and protection officer, explained the legal framework in consumer protection and the impact of the new amendments on consumers and traders on the radio show "News Release" on SPOR FM 95.0.

A product must have maintained its previous price for at least 30 days before it can be advertised as being on sale.

As she stated, this is essentially an enhancing law based on European directives and divided into four pillars. These are related to unfair clauses, unfair commercial practices, product price indication, and consumer rights legislation, particularly in relation to online sales.

'Offers' that are really... offers
Ms. Papachristophorou provided concrete examples, stating that when a product is advertised as being on sale, it should have retained its previous price for a period of 30 days. When asked how the consumer can know whether and to what extent the above is true, she stated that the service will conduct ex officio checks, but that this can be monitored by consumers to the greatest extent possible. She emphasized that the goal is not to punish but to properly inform traders in order to ensure the market's proper functioning.

Online transparency

Significant changes are also reportedly in the works for online shopping. According to the consumer protection officer, online platforms are now required to inform the consumer of the shop with which he is dealing, and if the counterparty is an individual - citing platforms where individuals sell second-hand goods as an example - the identity of the shop should also be disclosed, because the consumer is not protected in cases where the counterparty is an individual.

No more covert marketing

Since there is a misconception that the first results are the best, it should be made clear in cases of product search or comparison whether the first results that appear first contain hidden advertising (i.e. whether their appearance high in the rankings is due to the payment of money to the platform in return). Finally, he noted that in situations where information regarding the trader's annual turnover is unavailable, an administrative fine of up to €3 million may now be imposed.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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