The Senate passed a bill aimed at discouraging illegal practices in order to reduce consumer detriment by allowing qualified entities, whether private or public authorities (provided they are independent), to act on behalf of several consumers to stop or prohibit illegal practices by traders and, where appropriate, to obtain remedies such as compensation, repair, replacement, price reduction, termination of the contract or reimbursement of sums paid. The bill will also introduce penalties for traders who fail to comply with court decisions.
In April, the Senate approved a bill to transpose European Directive 1828/2020, which is due to come into force on 25 June 2023. The bill aims to strengthen the mechanisms for protecting the collective interests of consumers, both in terms of stopping illegal practices and obtaining compensation.
The bill aims to protect the interests of individuals who have been harmed by the actions of traders, service providers or specialists who have violated the law. It also covers illegal practices by traders that have ceased before consumer organisations or public bodies take legal action.
In order to be collectively represented by the qualified entity, consumers must give their written consent, both to be represented and to decide whether the outcome of the representation is binding on them, within 30 days of the action being brought. This consent means that those consumers cannot bring another action against the same trader, either individually or collectively.
Traders and qualified entities will be able to negotiate the type of redress that will benefit the injured consumers. If the outcome of the negotiations is considered unfair, the court can reject it, but if approved, the agreements will be binding on the trader and the qualified entity.