Law on Trade (“Off. Herald of RS”, Nos. 52/2019) which entered into force on July 30, 2019. and which shall apply from January 31, 2020 provides the conditions for intensive development of the digital economy.
By new legal solutions in detail:
- shall be regulated and defined electronic commerce and forms of online sales which are the most used in practice
- shall be allowed under certain conditions, displaying of prices in webshop in foreign currency
- shall be precisely defined and simplified the obligations of e-traders that carry out online sale and
- shall be introduced inspection method covert shopping (mystery shopper).
E-commerce and Online Sales Forms that are Most Applicable in Practice
Electronic commerce is defined as a special form of the remote commerce, which shall be realized in such a way that the goods/services shall be offered, ordered and saled through internet, and it has been introduced the term of online shopping (webshop) and the electronic platform:
- online shopping is shop on the Internet through which the merchant offers goods/services
- electronic platform is the means by which a person who has the capacity of provider of information society services, in terms of the law governing electronic commerce, provides a connect service to parties who trade electronically. A person who manage an electronic platform also can carry out sale of its own goods/services through this platform.
According to provisions of Article 17 of Law on Trade electronic commerce in particular is carried out as follows:
- sale of goods/services conducted via web shop (the main form of electronic commerce)
- sale of goods/services conducted via an electronic platform which connects consumers and salespersons (sale via electronic platform)
- sale of goods through a web shop or electronic platform, while consumer receive such products from manufacturers or wholesalers directly (‘’dropshipping’’ form of the electronic commerce).
Other remote commerce shall be carried out through other means of communication, especially as catalog sales,TV sales, trade via mail, print shipment, advertising materials with order form, phone, text or multimedia messages in mobile telephony and IVR systems.
It shall be considered that the foreigner perform remote commerce in Republic Serbia if it is directed to the consumers in Republic Serbia.
Remote commerce shall be directed to the consumers in Republic Serbia in particular if:
- Serbian language is used or the prices are indicated in Serbian dinars (RSD) and
- the trader offers delivery of its products on territory of Republic Serbia.
By application of the method of interpretation of law (argumentum a contrario) it shall be concluded that online commerce is intended for foreign consumers, if, for example. concrete webshop use the English language or display prices in euro and if offers delivery beyond the borders of Serbia.
Displaying a Prices in Webshop in Foreign Currency
Price shall be displayed in dinars. Exceptionally, the trader who carries out electronic commerce, which is also directed to consumers in the Republic of Serbia and to consumers in abroad, may display price in a foreign currency in a way that provide possibility to the consumer to choose the currency in which the selling price of goods/services from the entire offer of this seller shall be displayed.
In this case, the trader is obliged to ensure that the price in dinaras is first displayed to consumer who access to electronic commerce from the Republic of Serbia.
Exceptionally trader can display the price only in foreign currency in the following cases:
- with an indication of the accounting course in a trade of services in tourism, which are directly related to abroad, vehicles and in other cases in accordance with special regulations when shall be allowed to display prices in Republic of Serbia in foreign currency, and the payment shall be made in dinars. In this case, the trader shall be obliged when display and charge a price to indicate that as accounting course shall be applied the official middle exchange rate of RSD
- if it is in accordance with the law governing foreign exchange operations, payment for goods/services in the Republic of Serbia may be made in foreign currency
- if e-commerce is not directed to consumers in the Republic of Serbia.
Obligations of E-traders who Perform Online Sale
Minimal Technical Requirements
For carrying out of trade at the point of sale must be met minimum technical requirements relating to the premises, equipment and devices. Trade at the point of sale shall be trade: in a retail store; in a portable retail stores; from the movable assets and equipment.
Trade at the point of sale does not include e-commerce and therefore the obligation of meeting the minimum technical requirements shall not be applied on online sale.
Documents on the Goods
According to the provisions of Article 29 of the Law on Trade:
- documents on the goods may have a written form and the form of an electronic document
- for remote commerce records are kept at the level of the entire remote commerce of that trader on the market of Republic Serbia, or specifically for the individual organizational units in accordance with the previous decision which is taken by the trader.
By aforementioned provisions of the Law on Trade shall be allowed to e-merchant that all documents on the purchase and sale of goods (invoices, the invoices-dispatch notes, etc.) possess respectively issue and send to customers in the form of an electronic document, and that in e-commerce KEP book can be kept centralized at the level of the entire e-commerce which are carried out on the RS market, and separately for each organizational unit, based on the business decision which has been taken in accordance with the internal regulations and business policy.
The obligation of KEP book-keeping shall be applicable to all traders who sell goods over the Internet, by which the dropshipper are also included in, which also have the character of trader – seller of goods.
Declaration of goods
Goods in retail shall have a declaration containing the data on the name and kind of goods, type and model in accordance with the nature of the goods, the quantity expressed in the unit of measure or piece in accordance with the characteristics of the goods, the business name of the manufacturer, and for the goods from import the business name of the importer and the country of production.
In the remote commerce traders are obliged to make available those data to the consumer before the purchase in a form and manner that is directly and permanently accessible.
Covert Shopping – Mystery shopper
Law on trade introduces the institute of covert shopping.
The covert shopping shall be carried out in a manner prescribed by Law on Inspection Supervision (“Off. Herald of RS”, Nos. 36/2015, 44/2018 – other law and 95/2018). In case of a reasonable suspicion that a person performs an activity as an unregistered entity or does not issue invoices, covert shopping may be used, for the purpose of proving, in accordance with a special law, if the necessary evidence cannot be provided in the other way or if that would be significantly more difficult.
The covert shopping is carried out without prior notification and showing to the supervised entity the official identification document and inspection warrant, which includes the stating of method of covert shopping and the explanation of a reasonable suspicion, with listing of the known and probable facts that substantiate the reasonable suspicion in the specific case, as well as the explanation of why by using other proving actions necessary evidence may not be produced, collected or secured, of why would that be significantly more difficult.
Within the framework of covert shopping, the inspector is authorized to collect evidence and data that are useful for determining the facts and perform other powers for the purpose of establishing the facts referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article through direct observation. Upon completion of the purchase, the inspector presents to the supervised entity the official identity card and the inspection warrant.