How to handle General terms and conditions and consumer protection in Hungary?

Wednesday, 29 March | 2017

If you have decided to hane an online shop in Hungary, you need to resolve the development of terms and conditions and handle the personal details of clients correctly. There are 2 ways to do this and both are right.

Can I just translate my own terms into Hungarian?

Consumer rights and the protection of personal data are subject to uniform standards and regulations throughout the European Union. As Hungary is a member of the EU, its legislation on the protection of personal data and consumer rights is harmonized with EU legislation. For this reason, foreign online shops selling in Hungary can translate their original terms into Hungarian.

You can translate, but ...

According to the analysis by GKI Digital, Árukereső.hu and the Online Kiskereskedelmi Index, special attention will be paid to consumer protection issues and regulation in Hungary in 2017.

Analysis shows that up to 61% of e-shop owners think that the current legal environment in Hungary gives them enough support from the point of view of consumer protection. They face the problems in particular when monitoring all amendments and changes to the laws governing e-commerce responsibilities in the field of consumer protection. For example, 15% of them missed the latest amendment to the Electronic Communications and Consumer Protection Act, and about another 25 % of online shops employ or hire a person / lawyer who tracks the legal e-commerce environment and helps with interpreting laws.

What fines are there to online shops?

In Hungary, the first (minor) violation of consumer rights and privacy is usually handled by a warning. 

Under the amendment to the e-commerce law since 1 January 2017, the amount of the fine for shops is increased for repeated infringements from 200,000 Forints to 5% of net online shop's revenue but no more than 500 million Forints per year. In the event of a serious damage to the health and property of the consumer, a fine of up to 2 billion Forints may be imposed. For online shop belonging to the small and medium sector, the minimum fine is 200 thousand, maximum 2 million Forints.

A hungarian terror - The blacklist

However, the small and medium sector is worst affected by the blacklist led by the NFM (note: National Development Ministry). At blacklist, we find all the stores that fundamentally violated the consumer's right. At the moment, there are 4 shops on the blacklist (Python bőrruházat, Zema ékszerwebáruház, PC-MAX.hu, Csiszer kft.). All e-commerce businesses has gross violated the law, will get on this list, also the Consumer Protection Authority will decide about that.

The major danger for such firms is that the ministry will not remove them from the list for 2 years, and they will get back to the blacklist when they repeatedly violate the law. The company is clearly identifiable, it contains the business name of the company, the domain of the e-shop. All of this, of course, negatively affects trade in every aspect. The good name of the company is damaged from the customer point of view. It often means more damage to the entrepreneur than the financial penalty itself. Being a member of this "club" is indeed a serious damage to the reputation of the online shop in Hungary.

Ideal solution? Leave it to experts.

It is necessary not to forget that each country has its own rules, which often complement the existing European legislation and Hungary is no exception. E-shops very hardly capture all the changes in the legislation. At Expandeco, we managed to bring our customers a solution for foreign companies:

"We have been providing our clients with professional legal services for over a year in cooperation with the Hungarian law firm Jutasa.hu, which specializes in commercial law, online shops and consumer protection in Hungary. ", says Tomáš Vrtík, CEO of Expandeco.

"We are very pleased to have found a strong local partner at Shop Support (Expandeco) who can mediate our services for foreign. The greatest benefit of this e-shop collaboration is that the terms are tailor-made for every online shop, are continually updated and responsibility is at the hands of our law firm. Online shops do not really have to worry about anything", dr. Juhász Botond.

If you have any other questions, do not hesitate to contact us.