Vesna Novaković: the new Law is simpler, clearer and more precise

Assistant Minister for Consumer Protection at the Ministry of Trade Vesna Novaković said that the Law on Consumer Protection, which comes into force today, was prepared with broad support and cooperation, and that its provisions are much simpler, clearer and more precise, all with the aim of balancing the relationship between consumers and retailers.

“The novelty is that in the first six months from the purchase of goods, repair is only possible with the consumer’s prior consent” explained Novaković for RTS, adding that the law was drafted in cooperation with Consumer Protection Associations, other relevant ministries and the representatives of the economy.

Explaining that we had our goods repaired, without really asking for that, she pointed out that now the Law stipulates that the goods can only be repaired if we, as consumers, allow that.

“The consumer is always right, if he is not satisfied, he has the right to choose whether the goods are to be repaired or replaced, and if it is not possible he has a right to a price reduction, termination of purchase agreement and reimbursement”, said Novaković.

She explained that the Law provides for specific deadlines.

According to her, the deadline for the delivery of goods is 30 days, and if we do not receive the goods in that timeframe we are entitled to terminate the purchase agreement and receive a refund.

She stated that the deadline for responding to complaints has been shortened from 15 to eight days, adding that the response must be accurate and clear.

“The basic idea of the Law was to make the mechanisms easier and simpler. This law does not aim to protect consumers to the detriment of traders, but rather to balance their relationship. All those who have fair business dealings have absolutely no problem with this Law”, said Novaković, adding that consumers are entitled to know their rights and how they can achieve them.

Recalling the obligation of pre-contractual information, she pointed out that the dealer shall provide all relevant information before the customer decides to buy something.

Noting that there are abuses, but that they are not so common on the behalf of consumers, she emphasized that the most important thing is to apply the provisions of the Law.

Novaković said that the law is almost 99 percent compliant with European practice.