On August 2013, Greece implemented the new EU Consumer Rights Directive 2011/83/EU by adoption of the Joint Ministerial Decision No Z1-891. The implemented Directive consists of maximum harmonization rules focusing particularly on B2C distance contracts and off premises contracts, and aims to promote cross-border e-commerce by achieving a high and uniform level of consumer protection across the EU. As provided by the Directive, the above Ministerial Decision shall be effective as of 13 June 2014 and it shall apply to contracts concluded after the said date.

The most important changes in legislation have been selected as follows:

  • More stringent pre contractual information obligations of businesses. It is notable that the information must be provided in “a clear and comprehensive manner”.
  • Disclosure of the total price of the product or service as well as any extra costs (freight, delivery, postal charges etc).
  • For the purpose of elimination of “cost traps” online, when placing an order, consumers shall explicitly acknowledge that the order implies an obligation to pay. If clicking to place the order, the button must be labeled with wording such as “order with obligation to pay”.
  • Enhancement of withdrawal and refund rights: The period within which consumers can withdraw from a cross border distance or off premises contract is 14 days (from receipt of the goods) without giving any reason. An EU-wide model withdrawal form is also introduced. Traders must refund consumers within 14 days from the withdrawal (including refund of delivery costs).
  • Banning of pre-ticked boxes in relation to any extra service or charge.
  • Elimination of extra charges for the use of credit cards and telephone lines.
  • Passing of risk to consumers when they acquire physical possession of the goods.
  • Better consumer protection in relation to digital products, on which information have to be clearer.
In addition to the above, the Greek Ministerial Decision provides, beyond the Directive’s provisions, a new requirement for traders in distance contracts. More specifically, the registration to the Special Registry of traders in distance contracts constitutes a prerequisite for the registration/stamping of the trader’s accounting books and records by the competent tax authority.
To conclude, it is appropriate for businesses to start organizing their actions given that the changes are material and any modifications to comply with the new legislation may require adequate time.