In trading with natural persons, you as an entrepreneur will have to take into account the rights established by the Consumer Protection Act. The Consumer Protection Board exercises supervision with regard to protection of consumer rights.
Key requirements related to consumer protection
The goods and services an entrepreneur offers or provides to consumers must be safe, conform to established requirements, the description an entrepreneur provides and qualities a consumer can reasonably expect. An entrepreneur must notify consumers of potential risks related to goods and list corresponding information in the case of deficient or used goods. Information for consumers must be presented clearly and understandably.
If consumers are not satisfied with the goods an entrepreneur sold, they have the right to lodge a claim with the entrepreneur.
If an entrepreneur supplies and sells goods or service by way of telecommunications (computer, e-store, telephone, fax, TV shopping, post etc) or door-to-door (in the consumer’s place of work or residence or elsewhere outside of your place of business), an entrepreneur must notify the consumer that they have 14 days to withdraw from the transaction. During this time the consumer can withdraw from the goods or service without giving a reason.
Trading must take place in consideration of good commercial practice. It is prohibited to use dishonest trading tactics, which above all means resorting to a misleading or aggressive approach.
- A trading tactic is considered misleading if the method in which the information is presented is misleading to the consumer, the consumer is given incorrect information or you fail to present the information necessary for making a purchasing decision.
- A trading tactic is considered aggressive if the trader makes persistent and undesired offers by telephone or e-mail. It also includes advertisements that are incitations to purchase aimed at children.
Entrepreneur are obliged to set out, in Estonian, the ingredients, storage conditions and user manual for the product they sell. Instructions for use – also in Estonian – must be added to technically complex goods.
In the case of food and some consumer goods (such as cosmetics and consumer chemicals) an entrepreneur must add labelling regarding the expiration date of the product. The label kõlblik kuni (“fit for use until”) denotes an extremely perishable food product. Such a product may be sold only up until and including the date marked on the goods. The marking parim enne (“best before”) is used by a manufacturer to guarantee that the product will retain its best qualities until the specified time.
When you put goods for sale, you must communicate to the consumer the final price of the product, inclusive of all taxes. If the quantity of the goods is measured in kilograms, litres or metres, you should, in addition to the sale price, set out the unit price (per kilogram, litre or metre).
The final price of the service, i.e. the price including all taxes, must be communicated to the consumer before provision of service. Among other things, you must post, in a place visible to the consumer, the price list of services or rates on the basis of which the price is calculated.
In the case of goods under warranty, you will have to make a corresponding notation on the payment receipt or provide a separate warranty accompanying the goods. Among other things, the warranty notation must list the seller’s data, the term of the warranty, the essence and extent of the warranty, as well as rights arising from the warranty. You must issue a new warranty for a thing replaced during the warranty period. The duration of the new warranty must be equal to the original warranty. In the case of repairs made to an object, the sales warranty shall be extended by the duration of the repairs.
If the goods you sell or services you provide do not conform to the terms of a contract, you bear the responsibility. The consumer has the right of recourse to you in regard to non-conformity of goods or service for two years of the purchase of good or provision of service. During the first two months of this period, you must substantiate that the goods sold to the consumer or service provided were not deficient. After this time, the consumer must substantiate the non-conformity to the contract terms. If a good or service does not conform to contract terms and conditions, you will have to repair, replace or compensate it.
If problems and disputes arise, you should try to resolve the problem with the consumer yourself. Upon failure to reach an oral agreement, the consumer is entitled to lodge a written complaint with you, to which you are obliged to respond within 15 days, by notifying the consumer of the possible avenues to resolving the complaint. If no agreement can be reached, the consumer has the right to contact the Consumer Protection Board in order to protect his or her rights.
Disputes between consumers and traders are resolved by an independent consumer complaints committee or court.
To ensure the protection of consumer rights, the Consumer Protection Board has the right to subject you to a review. Among other things, the Consumer Protection Board has the right to make purchases for the right of monitoring compliance, issue cautions, precepts and fines and to suspend the sales of goods or services that are hazardous to the consumer.