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The Serbian legislation has introduced a set of laws in the field of personal data protection and e-commerce in the past couple of months, which have aligned Serbia with the EU laws and introduced higher standards of protection in these areas.
Bearing in mind that the topic of modernization of the current legal framework for the protection of personal data and e-commerce has become increasingly relevant worldwide, Serbia has decided to make a serious step ahead toward that direction. The main aim of passing the new laws in the above-mentioned areas reflects the necessity to bring legal solutions into line with technological innovations that have become part of our everyday lives.
In the text below, we will outline the wave of positive changes, in a brief overview of the crucial novelties that may be of interest to you.
Although the new Law on Personal Data Protection (hereinafter: the Law), which introduced a completely new concept in understanding the importance of processing and protection of personal data in the digital age, was adopted in November 2018, it’s implementation started with a 9-month grace period, in order to provide enough time to all legal subjects to harmonize their activities and business with the provisions of the Law.
The Commissioner’s attitude also attracted the attention of the general public, as he announced the plan to delay the implementation of the Law, just one month before the implementation. The rationale behind such a decision lays in the fact that no one got prepared for this implementation, due to the high standards and numerous obligations for the companies, government bodies and all parties that process personal data in any capacity. Nevertheless, the Law began with implementation on August 21, 2019.
The Law applies to everyone who processes personal data in any capacity, such as collection, recording, organization, consultation, erasure, storage, as well as all other actions relating to personal data, which was the topic in our previous blog – Tic-Toc, the Clock Is Ticking…Is Your Company Compliant With the new Law on Personal Data Protection?
Interestingly, the vast majority of companies have the misconception that if the company’s core business does not involve directly collecting personal data of third parties, then there is no space for the application of the Law. However, almost every company processes personal data about its employees, job candidates and persons hired on a part-time or temporary contract. We outlined this and other misconceptions employers frequently have about their obligations concerning the protection of their employees’ privacy in our blog post 9 Most Common Misconceptions of Employers on Personal Data Protection.
One of the initial obligations of the companies relates to the so-called “data mapping”, which implies that they need to ascertain which personal data they collect, in which manner, from whom and for which purpose. Therefore, the company is obliged to make a complete set of internal acts and introduce appropriate procedures to fully comply with the Law. For all those who neglect their obligations, the Law prescribes fines ranging from fifty thousand to two million dinars.
If we interested you to become more familiar with all the novelties that the Law introduces, we recommend you to read the blog The new Law on Personal Data Protection – Key Novelties that may come useful.
Having in mind the upward trend of e-commerce and its expansion in the global market, the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications recognized the need to regulate this form of trade in a more detailed and advanced manner. The new Law on trade and the Amendments to the Law on Electronic Commerce were adopted on July 22, while the implementation began on July 30.
We have already covered the crucial novelties in our previous news post Set of New Trade Regulations About to Improve the E-Commerce Business in Serbia, while the laws were still in draft, but almost all novelties entered into the final text of the laws.
The introduction of online shops and online platforms as legally recognized categories is a novelty that has attracted significant attention of the public. New concepts created a space for recognition of certain specifics of e-commerce that were not recognized in the old regulation. You can read more on this topic in our blog E-Commerce Store-5 Key Things To Know Before You Start.
A subject that might interest all consumers relates sales incentives in the form of discounts, promotions and price reductions for which new stricter rules have been introduced. The law on trade stipulates that selling at a lower price can be carried out in the form of discount sales, promotional sales or seasonal discounts. Regarding this, it is determined that sales can be maintained only in the event of a trader’s cessation of business or the cessation of the sale of certain goods and the seasonal reduction can be held only twice a year, for a maximum of 60 days.
Consumer protection has been introduced through a much broader scope of authorization that is now in charge of the market inspection. Based on the institute “mystery shopper” market inspection will be able to organize hidden purchases on a website and pretending to be an interested buyer, check the sales and payment procedures.
Another valuable novelty concerns the so-called dropshipping. Dropshipping is a form of e-commerce that has gained great success throughout the world. Dropshipping implies that e-retailer does not have to keep the products they sell in stock, like the brick and mortar retailer has to, but only serves as a liaison between the end customer and manufacturer, so that the goods are not delivered from the retailer’s warehouse, but directly from the warehouse of the manufacturer.
Changes in the area of selling prices introduce the possibility of expressing selling prices in foreign currency, whether or not the e-commerce targets domestic or foreign markets.
The novelties introduced by the Amendments to the Law on Electronic Commerce mainly relate to the refinement of the already existing formulations of the legal text, as well as to terminological adjustments to the terms and provisions of the new Law on Trade, in order to reduce legal uncertainty due to the incompleteness and unclarity of certain terms.