Romania: Consumer protection - Enforcement makes the difference

Romania

The National Authority for Consumer Protection ("NACP") carried out in January and February over 19,000 control actions concerning manufacturers, distributors and service providers aimed at the compliance of undertakings with quality and security of their products or services.

The main infringements were mainly in relation to: abusive contractual clauses; expired goods, non-compliance with the qualitative and security parameters; lack of consumer's information elements; lack of functioning authorisations; breaches of legal warranty term; non-compliance with the storage conditions and consumer information not translated into the Romanian language.

For the infringement of the legal provisions of the consumer protection, NACP has applied fines amounting to ROL33,7 billion (approx. Euro 825,000) to over 11,300 undertakings and temporary closure of 136 businesses -the longest of which was 12 months. NACP inspectors have also withdrawn from the market products posing a threat to health, life and security of the consumers, amounting to over ROL 4 billion (approx. Euro 98,000).

The value of the indemnifications paid to consumers in the first months of the year 2004, amounts to ROL 4 billion (approx. Euro 98,000), which is 82% higher than the value of indemnifications awarded for the same period in 2003, the amount representing the value of the products replaced, refund, counter value of product repairs etc. 

Nevertheless, according to NACP officials, the degree of awareness, both of consumers and of undertakings, in respect of consumer's protection legal mechanisms, has increased in comparison with the previous years and is showing and upward trend.

In light of this, there are a number of things that businesses should consider in order to protect your brand and reputation as well as revenues. These would include:

Ensure that where applicable products are tested and certified

market only products fully compliant with their stated or prescribed conditions;

stop deliveries of and/or withdraw from the market in due time, defective, unsafe products or products that are not compliant with the aforementioned conditions, if this is the only remedy available to you;

ensure in all respects the technical conditions prescribed by the producers/manufacturers;

ensure that your customers have been informed in all relevant aspects (e.g. quality, price, warranty conditions), prior to the purchase of your products or to the use of your services; and, most importantly,

keep yourself updated with the relevant consumer protection regulations and the like that may have impact on your activities.

For further information please contact Bogdan Bunrau at bogdan.bunrav@cms-cmck.com or on +40 21 231 64 74