The new Trade Law enters into force on Tuesday, July 31st. Adapted to market requirements, it will replace the old law, which has been in force for nine years.
The law brings new solutions and re-defines the meaning of the terms sale and seasonal discount, as well as prescribes new labelling of the products as compulsory.
According to the new law, discount sales can last up to 31 days. The full price and the reduced price must be clearly shown on the product unless the discount sale lasts less than three days, in which case it is sufficient to indicate only the percentage of the discount. Seasonal discounts also have a new definition.
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“For the first time ever, our legislation prescribes that “seasonal discounts can last up to 60 days per season at most, that seasonal summer discounts can range from July 1st to July 15th and winter discounts from December 25th to January 10th,” said Andrija Jovicic from Privredni Savetnik magazine.
Sale can be launched if the shop will go out of business soon or if certain goods will be sold out soon.
“There are many cases where a sign says ‘sale up to 70%’ or ‘sale up to 80%’ and then you go to the shop to buy something and see that discounts are only 15% or 20%. In line with the new law, if a shop advertises the highest discount percentage, it has to have a minimum of 20% or one-fifth of the entire merchandise in its assortment sold at such discounted price,” explains Zeljko Rakic from the Ministry of Trade.
The law also stipulates the institution of “a mystery shopper” who carries out an inspection at the shop and can act only when they collect sufficient evidence of irregularities at the particular point of sale.
Zarko Malinovic of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce says that the novelty is that the products will have a mandatory GTI marking and mechanically readable codes, which will significantly improve the supply chain and will increase consumer protection through better product traceability.
“This will give retailers and manufacturers the opportunity to introduce electronic documents such as electronic order forms, electronic invoices and such, and it will facilitate more efficient business operations,” said Malinovic.
“However, there is a collision between certain terms such as the very concept of consumer protection which is defined both by the Trade Law and the Consumer Protection Act which could become an obstacle in shoppers exercises their rights,” said Denis Perincic of the Consumer Union.
The new law also regulates sales incentives, such as the use of loyalty cards and point collection.
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