Do you run a website, are you a mobile app owner, or do you provide Internet-based service to your clients? If yes, you most likely render electronic services and should have suitably prepared regulations.
Pursuant to the Act on Rendering Electronic Services, e-service rendering should be construed as the performance of a service rendered without the parties being concurrently present (i.e. rendered remotly), by way of data transmission at an individual request of the service recipient, sent and received via devices for electronic data processing, including digital compression, as well as for data storage, with the service being dispatched, received, or transmitted via a telecommunication network, in the understanding of the Act on Telecommunication Law. In the light of the quoted definition, all Internet-based services are services rendered electronically. As a consequence, according to Art. 8 of the Act on Rendering Electronic Services, every provider of such a service should prepare according regulations and make them available free of charge to all potential service recipients.
The Act on Rendering Electronic Services does not define what exactly e-service regulations should contain. Art. 8 Sec. 3 indicates only that such regulations shall define in particular:
- types and scope of services rendered electronically;
- terms and conditions of e-service rendering, including the technical requirements requisite for co-operation with the tele-information system used by the service provider, as well as a ban on service recipient’s providing content of an unlawful nature;
- terms and conditions of concluding and terminating agreements on e-service rendering;
- complaint procedure.
The expression “in particular” implies that e-service regulations should also contain other elements defining detailed e-service rendering rules. Art. 8 Sec. 4 of the Act provides that “a service provider shall render e-services according to the regulations”. While drawing up regulations, one should also remember, on the one hand, to secure their own interest, and on the other hand – to avoid so-called abusive clauses, whose appearance in the regulations may cause an intervention (a law suit) by organisations dealing with consumer interest protection.
E-service regulations are best published on the website or in the application via which the service is rendered. Regulations should be also made available at every request of a service recipient in a way that enables obtaining, viewing, and fixing the content of the regulations via the tele-information system used by the service recipient.
What is one liable to for failure to provide regulations?
The Act on Rendering Electronic Services does not provide for imposing any sanctions on service providers for failure to provide relevant regulations. However, it should not be forgotten that there is the Act on Competition and Consumer Protection. Indeed, failure to make suitable regulations available to one’s service recipients before the service commencement constitutes a practice infringing collective consumers’ interests, as referred to in Art. 24 Sec. 2 of the Act on Competition and Consumer Protection. In the event that happens, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection may impose on the infringing entrepreneur a pecuniary penalty amounting to up to 10% of the turnover generated in the financial year preceding the year when the penalty was imposed.