On 11.02.2004, the Parliament passed the Commercial Activities Act (Kaubandustegevuse seadus) entering into force on 15.04.2004. The Act will establish general requirements for traders, organisers of trade, wholesellers and retailers of goods and services, procedure for exercise of supervision, and liability for breach of law.
One of the most important amendments is the replacement of activity licence with registration in the register of economic activities. The register is a state register maintained with the purpose of recording the undertakings operating in areas of activity subject to special requirements. Traders may engage in commercial activities provided they are registered with the register of economic activities. The Commercial Activities Act is a general norm, and if a specific act establishes additional requirements for selling certain goods or services, the requirements of a specific act should be followed.
A fixed-term activity licence issued before the entry into force of the Commercial Activities Act is valid until the date specified in that licence or until data indication in it is changed, but not longer than 15.04.2005. An activity licence issued for an unspecified term is valid until data indicated in it is changed, but not longer than 15.04.2005.
The procedure for registration of undertakings operating in areas of activity subject to special requirements is provided for in the Economic Activities Register Act (Majandus-tegevuse registri seadus) entering into force simultaneously with the Commercial Activities Act on 15.04.2004. An undertaking operating in an area of activity subject to special requirements shall obtain registration by submitting a requisite registration application to an administrative body. Respective data on the undertaking shall be entered in the register within five working days from receipt of the abovementioned application.
On 11.02.2004, the Parliament passed a Consumer Protection Act (Tarbija-kaitseseadus). The objective of the new Act is to update the valid Consumer Protection Act and to create a simplified extra-judicial system for solving disputes between the consumer and the trader.
According to the new requirements, upon offering goods to the consumer it is necessary to disclose the sale price as well as the unit price of goods. The consumer must be informed of, in addition to the final price, also of the price of goods per kilogram, litre, metre, square metre or cubic metre.
The new Act makes an express difference between the warranty of goods or services and the right of the consumer to file a claim regarding the lack of conformity of goods or services. Furthermore, the Act prohibits the use of the word "warranty" or any other word of the same meaning unless its meaning corresponds to warranty against defects or contractor's guarantee (sections 230, 231 and 650 of the Law of Obligations Act).
Pursuant to the regulation provided in the Law of Obligations Act, the trader is liable for lack of conformity of goods or services that becomes apparent within two years as of the date of delivery of a thing or providing of a service.
A warranty against defects is a promise given by a manufacturer or a trader that
certain characteristics of goods or services shall preserve within the time period specified by the manufacturer or the trader.
The granting of a warranty against defects is not an obligation for the trader or manufacturer, and the consumer may not demand a warranty to be granted, as by granting of a warranty the manufacturer or trader assumes voluntarily an additional obligation in order to give the consumer a better conditions than provided by law.
The new Act also prescribes the establishment of the consumer complaints committee whose competence is to solve disputes arising from a contract concluded between the consumer and trader in case the parties have failed to solve such disputes through negotiations.