New law to prevent aggressive sales tactics

The phenomenon of salespeople using aggressive or shady tactics to sell their goods provoked the Smer-controlled government to draft an amendment to protect those who are more vulnerable to such practices, usually pensioners.

The phenomenon of salespeople using aggressive or shady tactics to sell their goods provoked the Smer-controlled government to draft an amendment to protect those who are more vulnerable to such practices, usually pensioners.

Economy Ministry state secretary Pavol Pavlis said on Monday, August 19, that victims should, as of September, be protected by the Consumer Protection Act amendment, to be submitted by Smer MPs Anton Martvoň and Oto Brixi. “Through this amendment, we declare war upon the so-called trumpery mongers,” Pavlis aid, as quoted by the TASR newswire. He added that the goal is to eliminate the shady practices of some of these businesses.

The amendment strengthens the powers of the Slovak Trade Inspection (SOI), which will henceforth be able to examine all sales presentations and pitches and even cancel them if requirements are not met. New fine limits will also be introduced, raising the highest penalty from €3,300 to €16,500. Violating the rules could even lead to the termination of trade licences for businessmen. The Sme daily wrote that the detailed conditions and prices must be stated in advance, with the sales pitch having to be announced with authorities at least 20 days earlier.

Consumers will also have more power. The amendment introduces the right to back out of a deal within 15 days after signing, without having to state a specific reason. “We are reacting to the fact that when people sign these contracts, they usually realise what they've done only a few days later," says Martvoň, according to TASR. Sellers will also be obliged to inform consumers of their rights before each sales pitch.

Sme quoted an insider as opining that companies will try to bypass this law by organising private sales pitches.

(Source: TASR, Sme)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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