What new things are coming in 2023?

Every year we prepare for you an overview of the amendments and legal changes that await us in the coming year. This year, we have focused our attention on ordinary consumers and small businesses. What’s in store for them in the coming year?

novinky v právu 2023
7 minutes of reading

Data boxes

The state has decided to significantly strengthen electronic communication from 2023. The aim should be to make the functioning of the state administration more efficient and faster.

Data boxes will now be mandatory for:

  • All legal entities, including institutes, associations, foundations, associations of unit owners or public benefit societies that have not had this obligation so far.
  • Every natural person engaged in business – until now, data boxes for self-employed persons were established only on the basis of their application.

The original plan was to include so-called “digitally literate” non-entrepreneurs in the amendment, i.e. all self-empowered natural persons who would communicate with the state via their electronic identity (such as a bank identity, eCitizens with a chip or the My ID service).

For the latter group, however, the government has slowed down in response to public pressure and will wait on data boxes here. The state had initially created the assumption that if the individuals in question could manage to use the Citizen’s Portal or Bank Identity, then servicing and communicating through the datacard would be a simple matter for them. However, a number of examples from practice pointed to the fact that in practice, seniors are signing up for various services by their grandchildren precisely because grandparents are not very digitally literate. The measure would thus be completely counterproductive.

If you or your legal entity fall into the above-mentioned groups covered by the amendment, you do not have to actively do anything, go to the authorities or activate the establishment via the Internet. The state will set up the data box for you itself by 31 March 2023. Once it is set up, you will receive access data, together with basic data for use by post.

You cannot refuse a data box set up in this way. The only possible solution is to entrust a person with the management of the data box and avoid the obligation to do so personally.

Tip: We have covered the practical aspects of data boxes and tips for using them in our separate article.

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Consumer Protection Act and the ban on false discounts

An important change for consumers is the ban on false discounts, which originated in its original form from the European Union and should come into force here from the end of this year or the beginning of next year (the exact date depends on the signing of the amendment by the President). If a trader offers you a discount on a product, he will also now have to state the price at which he sold the product in the previous period. This should make it much harder to give false discounts.

The principle of false discounts can be twofold. Either an e-shop (or a brick-and-mortar shop) gives a false original price and tells us, for example, that a T-shirt has been reduced from CZK 1,000 to CZK 500 (but was sold in the previous period for CZK 700). The second, more laborious, way is short-term pricing of goods (i.e. price increase), for example, a week before the discount event, so that the shop can then state the “true” discounts it has prepared for the customer. In both cases, retailers take advantage of the psychological moment when the customer is more likely to make a purchase decision if he or she feels that he or she is in the presence of an extraordinary and significant discount.

In the event of a discount, traders will now have to state the lowest price at which they sold the goods for a period of not less than 30 days before the promotion was first applied. If they have offered the goods for a shorter period, they will state the lowest price for the elapsed period. The only exceptions are food and other perishable or short-lived goods.

The amendment also includes tackling another misleading practice, which is false reviews. Some traders write customer reviews on behalf of fictitious customers in an attempt to sell as many goods as possible. This will no longer be possible either. In the case of reviews, retailers should provide clear and truthful information that the reviews were given by real people who bought the product. Sellers should verify that the reviews are actually from customers who have purchased the product, otherwise they may be committing unfair commercial practices.

Prohibition of dual product quality

The new amendment also emphasises the prohibition of any marketing of a product if it would be sold as identical in at least two other EU Member States, provided that the product has a substantially different composition or characteristics (unless justified by legitimate and objective facts). This is a further avoidance of the double quality of products, which the Czechs have already enforced in the case of foodstuffs.

Another novelty brought by the amendment is the extension of the withdrawal period from 14 days to 30 days. This option cannot be used for any purchase, of course, and not even for distance purchases (i.e. typically via the Internet on an e-shop). It does, however, apply to the purchase of goods outside the business premises, typically in the form of various street offers, door-to-door salesmen or even the infamous trips involving the display and offer of goods of varying quality.

The difficulty of concluding contracts over the telephone

In a similar vein, there is also greater legal protection for consumers who enter into contracts over the telephone. This is now relatively easy to do, and is often exploited by various “scammers”. As a rule, the caller believes that he is making one of the usual calls presenting services or goods. Later on, it is often not surprising that during the call, under more or less psychological pressure and manipulation, he also concludes a contract which he later finds it difficult to withdraw from.

In future, the entrepreneur will have to repeat and confirm his telephone offer to the consumer without undue delay in text form. The consumer is only bound by the offer once he has given his consent electronically or by signing a confirmation of the offer on a document. This will reduce the number of situations where a simple nod over the phone has led unsuspecting callers to conclude a contract.

Foreclosures in 2023

Certain types of foreclosures covered by the event are currently being halted in connection with the currently ending Summer of Grace event. In 2023, it is expected that not only small claims will be terminated, as is currently the case, but also larger claims. Executions for pecuniary benefits (except for maintenance and claims arising from personal injury, etc.) will be gradually stopped if the debt has not been even partially satisfied within the last six years from the date of the execution clause and if the execution does not affect immovable property. The beneficiary must agree to the stay of execution. If he or she does not agree, he or she must pay a deposit for the further conduct of the execution, which will extend the execution for a further three years. In certain cases, the beneficiary will be exempted from paying the deposit if he proves that his current financial situation does not allow him to pay.

Discounts on insurance premiums for part-time work

Employers will see a reduction in short-time work from February 2023 in the form of a five per cent discount on social security premiums. This will apply to employment or service relationships. The discount will apply only once for each employee, even if they have multiple short-term jobs with different employers. For this reason, a record of the intentions of the discounts claimed will be introduced.

However, it remains to be seen whether the savings will be used by at least some employers to provide a financial boost for part-time employees.

Valuing grandparental care for children

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is planning a friendly step towards families with children. If all goes according to plan, an amendment will come into force in July 2023, which will entitle grandparents caring for their young grandchildren to have this work counted when calculating their pensions. By definition, the amendment would apply to those grandparents who are not yet retired. They would be able to take advantage of the newly defined ‘grandparental leave’. However, the draft amendment to the State Social Support Act still has to be passed by the Government and both chambers of Parliament. We will therefore have to wait for its final form.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

Education
  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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