New law eliminating geographical discrimination within the EU internal market comes into force in November
The new legislation, that implements controlling mechanism for elimination of the unjustified geographical discrimination of a customer within the internal market of the European Union, comes into force as of 1 November 2019.
The Act No. 299/2019 Coll. On supervision and assistance regarding addressing unjustified geographical discrimination of the customer within the internal market as amended („the Act“) implements the controlling mechanism identified in the Regulation (EU) 2018/302 of the European Parliament and of the Council („the Regulation“). The aim of the Regulation is to remove unjustified geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination based on customers‘ nationality, place of residence or place of establishment within the internal market of the European Union.
The new regulation on cross-border trade within the European Union reacts to certain cases, when traders refuse to sell goods or provide services to customers from other member states of the European Union without any objective justification or refuse to apply same prices or conditions as they would on local customers.
The Regulation itself sets forth the prohibition of such discriminatory practices, i.e. the prohibition of applying different general conditions of access to goods or services, different conditions for payment transactions or blocking or limiting customer’s access to the trader’s online interface for reasons related to the customer’s nationality, place of residence or place of establishment.
For the assessment of compliance with such legislation, the Act establishes the following controlling mechanisms within the Slovak market:
- Slovak Trade Inspection („the STI“) shall be the supervising authority assessing the compliance with the traders‘ obligations arising from the Regulation concerning cross-border trade of goods and services, including online sale. At the same time, it shall be responsible for providing assistance to consumers;
- Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic („the ME SR“) shall be the authority responsible for providing assistance to consumers in the case of a dispute between them and a trader;
- Penalties. For the infringement of obligations arising from the Regulation, the STI shall be authorized to impose penalties amounting to EUR 100 to EUR 50,000, depending on the severity, manner, duration and consequences of such infringement by a trader established within the territory of the Slovak Republic.