Bulgarian parliament adopts amendments to Consumer Protection Act

Bulgaria

The Bulgarian Parliament adopted amendments to the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), which implement the provisions of Regulation (EU) 2017/2394 on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws and Regulation (EU) 2017/1128 on cross-border portability of online content services in the internal market.

Amendments to the CPA

Key changes to the CPA include:

Designation of national authorities to apply consumer protection legislation

  • 11 regulators in different sectors have been designated to apply consumer protection legislation and their enforcement powers have been defined.

  • The authorities include the Commission for Consumer Protection (CCP), Bulgarian Drug Agency, Communications Regulation Commission, Directorate General ‘Civil Aviation Administration’, Commission for Protection of Competition, ‘Railway Administration’ Executive Agency, Council for Electronic Media, ‘Maritime Administration’ Executive Agency, ‘Automotive Administration’ Executive Agency, Bulgarian National Bank and Ministry of Tourism.

  • The designated competent authorities can initiate investigations or procedures on their own initiative to suspend or prevent breaches of consumer protection legislation and can also use as evidence any information furnished by a competent authority of another EU member state.

New competences of the CCP

  • The CCP is entrusted with the functions of a single liaison office and will be responsible for coordinating the activities of the competent national authorities.

  • The CCP will have the power to issue decisions to remove content from or restrict access to the online interface of traders who breach consumer protection laws, or to order the explicit display of a warning to consumers when they access their online interface.

  • The CCP can also order hosting service providers and undertakings, which provide public electronic communications networks and/or services, to remove, disable or restrict access to an online interface.

  • To combat infringements, the CCP can order domain registries to delete a fully qualified domain name of a trader.

New Sanctions

  • Sanctions ranging from EUR 500 to EUR 2500 can be imposed if sole traders and legal entities do not comply with orders issued by the CCP to remove content from an online interface or to explicitly display a warning to users when accessing their online interface.

  • Sanctions in the amount of EUR 500 to EUR 2500 can be imposed on hosting service providers and undertakings, providing public electronic communications networks and/or services, which fail to comply with an order to remove, disable or restrict access to an online interface of a trader who does not follow the prescriptions of an order issued by the CCP. For repeated non-compliance, the sanctions can double.

  • Sanctions in the amount of EUR 500 to EUR 1500 can be imposed against a domain registry that does not comply with an order to delete the fully qualified domain name of a trader. Sanctions can double for subsequent non-compliance.

Other changes

  • Service providers of online content within the territory of Bulgaria are obliged to ensure that their subscribers can access and use those services when they are temporarily present in EU member states other than Bulgaria. Service providers of online content who fail to comply with  provisions ensuring the cross-border portability of online content can be imposed a fine ranging from EUR 250 to EUR 1500, while sole traders and legal entities can be imposed a sanction in the amount of EUR 500 to EUR 2500. For repeated breaches, the fines and sanctions can double.

For more information, please contact your regular CMS source or local CMS experts: Nevena Radlova and Tatyana Yosifova.

The article is co-authored by Kalina Krastanova, Trainee at CMS Sofia.