New duties for online intermediation services
As of 12 July 2020, the Regulation (EU) 2019/1150 of the European Parliament and of the Council on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services (“regulation”) has become effective. We have prepared an overview of the most important changes and duties for providers of the online intermediation services (“provider”), brought about by the application of the regulation.
1. Terms and conditions.
The regulation places a great emphasis on the wording and publicity of a terms and conditions of an online intermediation services. Terms and conditions shall be drafted in plain and intelligible language, easily and anytime available for all users.
According to the regulation the provider is obliged to announce changes in its’ terms and conditions at least 15 days before its effectivity on a durable medium to all business users. Pursuant to the regulation, a durable medium is any instrument which enables business users to store information addressed personally to them in a way accessible for future reference and for a period of time adequate for the purposes of the information and allows the unchanged reproduction of the information stored.
Retroactive changes of a terms and conditions of the online intermediation services are prohibited.
Additionally, each user shall have right to terminate the contract with provider before the effectivity of the new terms and conditions.
Breach of the obligations above arising from the regulation causes partial, or in certain cases, full invalidity of the terms and conditions.
2. Termination or suspension of a services to a commercial user.
The regulation stipulate following obligations:
- to set out the grounds for decision to suspend or terminate or impose any other kind of restriction upon, in whole or in part, provision of their online intermediation services to business users in the terms and conditions;
- to provide a reasoning of a decision on restriction/suspension of the provision of its online intermediation services in relation to individual goods or services to a business user before or at the moment of effectivity of the decision;
- to provide reasoning of termination of all services to a business user at least 30 days before the day of effectivity of the decision;
- in case of restriction/suspension/termination of services to a business user, give an opportunity to clarify the facts and circumstances based on which the online intermediary services were restricted/suspended/terminated to a business user in the framework of the internal complaint-handling process;
- stipulate information on the conditions under which business users can terminate the contractual relationship with the provider of online intermediation services.
3. Obligation in connection with ranking of the products/services on the online intermediation service and any differentiated treatment.
According to the regulation, a provider shall stipulate in the terms and conditions following:
- the main parameters determining ranking of provided goods/services and the reasons for the relative importance of those main parameters as opposed to other parameters.
- In case that it is possible to influence the ranking for renumeration to a provider, description of those possibilities in the terms and conditions.
- description of any differentiated treatment which they give, or might give, in relation to goods or services offered to consumers.
4. Obligations in connection to collection of a data.
The regulation introduces a several obligations to providers regarding collection of personal data or the other data, which users provide for the purpose of use of the online intermediation services or which where are generated through the provision of those services.
5. Internal complaint-handling system and mediation.
The regulation introduces following obligation for providers who are not a small or micro-sized enterprise (has at least 50 employees and annual turnover is at least EUR 10 million):
A) Obligation to provide for and internal complaint-handling system of a business users.
Requirements of an internal complaint-handling system:
- easily accessible and free of charge for business users,
- shall ensure handling of complaints within a reasonable time frame,
- based on the principles of transparency and equal treatment applied to equivalent situations, and
- must treats complaints in a manner which is proportionate to their importance and complexity.
B) Obligation to secure settlement of disputes by a mediation.
In case of mediation, providers are obliged to state in their terms and conditions at least two mediators who are willing to assist in the out-of-court solution of these disputes between the providers and the commercial user.