The forthcoming Consumers' Rights Protection Law ("Law") in Ukraine, scheduled to take effect on 7 July 2024 (contingent on the cancellation of martial law in Ukraine), is poised to harmonize Ukrainian consumer protection legislation with key EU norms. This new Law aims to modernize consumer protection requirements, especially in the e-commerce context.
Expanded scope of application. The Law extends consumer protection requirements to encompass marketplaces, classifieds and price aggregators, placing certain precontractual information obligations on them. Notably, the scope of application is also broadened to include food products, while specific categories such as medical services and gambling are excluded.
In addition, the Law introduces regulations for the provision of digital content and services, as well as the new right of withdrawal for digital content contracts.
Warranty obligations. For new goods, the Law mandates a two-year warranty period, one year for used goods and 10 years for real estate. However, where the product's service life is less than two years, the warranty period cannot exceed such period.
Mandatory registration for e-commerce. By 7 July 2026, the Law necessitates the launch of the E-Consumer Portal. E-commerce businesses must undergo mandatory registration through this portal to attain "verified seller" status and display the corresponding badge in their online stores. The E-Consumer Portal is also aimed at facilitating interactions between e-commerce businesses, consumers and the consumer protection authority, including through enabling consumers to file official complaints. Additionally, the Law empowers the consumer protection authority to request ISPs to restrict access to the websites of unregistered e-commerce businesses.
Information obligations. Precontractual information obligations are revised for both online and offline contexts, with an expanded list of required information for distance contracts. Various methods of providing this information to consumers are recognized, including online formats, such as official websites of manufacturers/sellers.
Out-of-court dispute resolution. The Law introduces a new out-of-court dispute resolution mechanism for cases involving products valued up to approximately USD 1,350, breach of warranty repair or replacement requirements, and delivery term violations for off-premises contracts.
The impending Law represents a significant step forward in consumer protection and significantly aligns Ukraine with EU standards. Businesses are advised to adapt their processes to comply with these new requirements before the Law takes effect. Furthermore, continuous monitoring of developments in this field is recommended, as further changes are likely as Ukraine continues its EU integration efforts.
By Oleksiy Stolyarenko, Partner, and Dmytro Skydan, Associate, Baker McKenzie