By Zieliński Jerzy

Omnibus directive – are you ready?

Raising prices to make the promotion seem higher? Sorting the auctions so the customer doesn’t know they’re browsing sponsored listings? Precisely to deal with this type of activity, the Omnibus Directive was created, upholding consumer rights. The regulations went into effect on January 1, 2023, so if you don’t want to pay up to 40,000 zlotys in fines, you’d better make sure your store is compliant.

Need support in complying with the Omnibus Directive? I invite you to contact! I do store development, e-commerce management, SEO and Google Ads. The Omnibus Directive in Poland is already in force – I will help you avoid a penalty.

The most important premise of the Omnibus Directive – promotions

Price manipulation is a common practice among e-commerce owners, especially before holidays such as Black Friday or Christmas. It is precisely such practices that Omnibus aims to prevent. The directive imposes an obligation to report the lowest price of a product in the last 30 days, not counting the promotional price. This can be an additional line of text next to the promotional price or a specially implemented module. Since January 1, when the Omnibus Directive came in, the implementation of such data on the site is mandatory, so if you haven’t done it yet, you’d better hurry.

Are you launching a new product? If it has been on sale for less than 30 days before the first promotion, you are required to quote the lowest price for the period since the product is available.

omnibus directive promotions

Although it’s been two weeks since the Omnibus went live, online you can still find examples of inadequate price presentation:

omnibus directive online promotions

It is not enough to provide the percentage reduction and previous prices – the customer must be given accurate information about what the lowest price was in the 30 days before the current promotion was introduced.

Here, too, the crossed-out price and gift discount appear, but there is information about the lowest price in the previous 30 days, so the promotion is Omnibus compliant:

omnibus directive proper promotion

These rules do not apply to a price list change unless you describe it as a sale, promotion or special occasion. The rule also excludes promotions such as 2+1, etc., and percentage discounts on purchases above a specific amount. Omnibus Directive 2022 applies where the price is the same for all customers – you don’t have to list the lowest price of 30 days if the promotion is only for loyalty programs, e.g. consumers who have discount coupons or loyalty cards and receive a special offer for their birthday, for example.

Rules for sorting products into categories

In the product search engine from the category level, you can apply various filters: sort them by name, price, etc. This issue is also regulated by the Omnibus Directive. Since it goes into effect, you must inform customers what filter you are using when displaying results.

omnibus directive categories

This rule applies not only to traditional e-commerce sites, but especially to marketplaces and price comparison sites. Customers need to know on what basis products are ranked. It is also necessary to mark sponsored listings: if a seller has paid to promote his auction and rank high in search results, the user is to be informed.

omnibus directive listing

Individually tailored prices

Are you segmenting your customers and using tools that individually adjust prices for them? You have an obligation to report it! According to Omnibus directive orders, the consumer must be aware that the price of a product is not the same for everyone.

Only reliable customer reviews

Reviews and recommendations are very important, but you need to get them through honest methods. False paid reviews, declared by sellers as honest, have unfortunately been common in e-commerce, and the Omnibus directive is expected to change that as well. If your store allows people to leave reviews, you need to put procedures in place to verify that the person leaving the review actually purchased the product. If you can’t verify that the reviews are from buyers, you have no right to communicate that on your site. You can’t manipulate the content or the way reviews are displayed in any way to artificially boost your brand’s reputation.

Remember that the OCCP may consider the publication and ordering of false opinions as an unfair market practice, which carries a penalty (up to 10% of the company’s annual turnover!). Since Omnibus came into effect, reviews are supposed to be of real value to users, not just act as a marketing tool for businesses.

Contact details

The Omnibus Directive is not at all as revolutionary as it might seem, but it is worth seeing to all the details, as you may pay a penalty for even minor oversights. One of the obligations is to provide all the store’s contact information: full mailing address, phone number and e-mail address. These are the basics, but you can still find e-commerce sites that don’t do this.

What if you don’t comply with the Omnibus Directive?

As for the main premise of the Omnibus Directive, failure to comply with the obligation to quote the lowest price in the last 30 days carries a penalty of 20 thousand zlotys. However, if the negligence is extremely serious, you could pay up to 40,000 zlotys. Artificially inflating promotions is therefore unlikely to pay off for you.

The Omnibus Directive also imposes information obligations, and if you do not comply with them it will be considered an unfair market practice. The customer can file a claim with the consumer ombudsman and demand cancellation of the contract and reduction of the price. However, the most serious consequences await you if the OCC finds that you are compromising consumer interests – here the penalty is 10% of the company’s annual turnover.

For vendors, the Omnibus Directive may seem onerous, but it is worth considering that it is intended to prevent unfair competition and market spoilage. Whether the new regulations are to your liking or not, if you don’t want to pay a fine, you have an obligation to comply, and as soon as possible.

Wondering if you are compliant with the requirements that the Omnibus Directive imposes and since when it has been in effect? Starting January 1, so if you are not ready yet -. contact me, I will help you avoid problems with the OCCP!

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