A new Law for the provision of digital content and digital
services and for the sale of goods (the
"Law") entered into force on 1st January
2022 in Bulgaria. Among the introduction of specific rules with
respect to the supply of digital content and digital services to
consumers, the Law provides for new regulations on the conformity
of goods and remedies in the event of lack of conformity. The new
rules transpose Directive (EU) 2019/771 on certain aspects
concerning contracts for the sale of goods and aim to lay down
a harmonized legal framework across all sales channels and avoid
any divergence that could create disproportionate burdens for the
growing number of omnichannel retailers in the European
Among other novelties, the Law strengthens the importance of the
aftersales commitments made via public statements. Thus, a good
would be deemed non-compliant and subject to warranty repair if it
is not of the quality and does not have the features, including in
relation to durability, functionality, compatibility, and security
which the consumer may reasonably expect given the nature of the
goods and taking into account any type of public statements made by
or on behalf of any person involved in the supply chain of the
product to the final consumer. The seller (but only him) may claim
that he is not bound by such public statements if he was not and
could not have been reasonably aware of them; or by the time of
conclusion of the contract, the public statement had been
corrected; or the decision to buy the goods could not have been
influenced by the respective public statement. Such an approach to
public statements is not completely new, as the Bulgarian law even
before the Law became effective provided for such liability.
However, the Law significantly broadens the scope, because, under
the previously applicable rules, a consumer could claim
unconformity only with respect to claims made by the seller, the
manufacturer, or its representative and only in an ad and/or in the
label of the good.
The Law also places a considerable emphasis on commercial guarantee claims provided in an ad. Pursuant to the new rules, a commercial guarantee shall be binding on the guarantor under the conditions laid down in the commercial guarantee statement or associated advertising available at the time, or before the conclusion of the contract. The Law explicitly provides, conversely to the previously applicably framework, that if the conditions specified in the commercial guarantee statement are less advantageous to the consumer than those outlined in associated advertising, the commercial guarantee shall bind the advertiser under the conditions outlined in the ad, unless, before the conclusion of the contract, the associated advertising was corrected in the same way or in a comparable way to that in which it was made.
The Law aims to ensure that any publicly made statements for
quality or features of the goods shall be binding for the
merchants. The development of the e-commerce channel and all
alternative forms for b2c communication made it easier for the
merchants to reach out to the consumers but this may allow them to
circumvent some consumer protection requirements that were
developed for much less digitalized commerce. Also, the new rules
shall combat the practices where merchants make ambiguous guarantee
claims in ads aiming to attract the consumers but when the product
is purchased, they try to slip off their liability by claiming that
this was only an ad, and the aftersales relation are regulated only
by the rules of the guarantee statement.
The purpose of the Law is to cater for protecting the consumers in those cases where although it is not possible or too ambitious for a misleading advertisement to be claimed, there still might be a risk for the consumers. This is a specific advantage for this country as under Bulgarian law misleading advertisement is considered as a form of unfair competition practice and in case no harm to the competitors can be established, the competent authority cannot intervene. Under the new rules, the consumers shall have an additional option for protection of their aftersales rights.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.