The National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia adopted the new Law on Trade and the Law on Amendments to the Law on Electronic Commerce on July 22, 2019 and both laws came into force on July 30, 2019.
The need for improvement of trade in Serbia and harmonization of legislation with the modern way of doing business gathered many stakeholders, such as representatives of the economy sector and state authorities, as well as some of the most important names in e-commerce in Serbia to publicly discuss the subject matter.
Speaking of the Law on Trade, there was a need to amend majority of its articles, and therefore it was decided that completely new Law on Trade should be adopted. Namely, besides introducing new terms, terminology and definitions which have been used previously are now improved and more comprehensive, all in order to reduce legal uncertainty and to facilitate trade in Serbia.
The Law on Trade introduces new concepts, which, among others, define the online store and online platform for the first time in Serbian legislation. Hence, online store (web shop) is defined as a form of trade in which the consumer orders goods from trader’s website, and the trader delivers the goods from their own warehouse. When it comes to online platforms (e-commerce platform), the consumer is in contract with a trader, but the order placement, payment and delivery services are provided by the platform, which itself is in a contractual relationship with the trader. Although the online platform has the ability to sell goods directly to consumers, it is usually only a link between a trader and a consumer.
Furthermore, the Law on Trade has finally regulated dropshipping, and it is defined as a possibility to sell via online store and platform, in a manner that the goods are not delivered from the dealer’s warehouse, but directly from the warehouse of the manufacturer.
One of the most important novelties is that the price can be expressed in a foreign currency. With these changes, consumers from all over the world will have opportunity to compere the selling prices the trader offers, in the currencies they use.
Also, an important novelty is introduction of a mystery shopper institute which entitles the inspector to make a purchase, gather information and provide appropriate evidence in the case of a reasonable suspicion that the trade is not in compliance with regulations.
Finally, the Law also regulates in more details sales incentives and promotions, as well as the marketing communications regarding the sales incentives and promotions, changing to some extent the existing 2016 Advertising law.
Regarding the Amendments to the Law on Electronic Commerce, although previous version of this law was already mostly harmonized with the EU Directive on Electronic Commerce, there was a need for improvement and further harmonization. The main goal of the amendments was to specify the definitions of the already existing formulations of the legal text, as well as to clarify the existing definitions, which led to uncertainty in implementation so far.
The set of these two laws was adopted to improve legal certainty and it is expected that they shall help in strengthening the entire market, including consumer rights. If you have any questions regarding the above, please contact Slobodan Kremenjak, Živković Samardžić Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Partner and Igor Živkovski, Živković Samardžić Corporate and M&A Partner or any of your regular contacts at Živković Samardžić.