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Consumer protection on digital markets strengthening - Deloitte

New business models appearing on digital markets raise unknown and increasingly complex problems, resulting in actions by the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH), as exemplified by its digital consumer protection strategy. Consequenctly, service providers must act with special care when handling and communicating with clients.

Anna Miks, head of competition at Deloitte Legal

Digitalization results in a wider variety of goods, lower prices, more comfortable solutions, and better general experience for consumers, says a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal by Deloitte Legal. At the same time, digital solutions carry a certain amount of challenges as well, with internet-based new business solutions raising a number of questions for both consumers and providers.

Keeping up with international trends, the GVHʼs attention has turned towards consumer protection cases connected to the digital and data-based economy. Not long ago, as a result of one process, a leading internet company had to modify its notifications of data policy for chat clients, recalled Deloitte.

In another case, the GVH meted out a HUF 100 million fine after one leading phone manufacturer failed to make it clear that its phone connects to the mobile network in case of weak Wi-Fi reception, potentially leading to an increase in costs.

"Even within an international context, the processes against ‘influencers’ ended last year, where the GVH analyzed how paid content appearing through them should look like on social media," says Anna Miks, head of competition at Deloitte Legal. "It is also a new development that the GVH will give special attention to the commercial practices of online dating sites, with a concrete process already in progress."

The GVHʼs strategy also mentions conducting market analyses to understand the effect of digital comparison tools, such as price comparison websites and applications, on consumers.

"These examples make it easy to see that the authority is exceptionally active in investigating commercial practices on digital markets, independently of which service area they belong to," says Péter Göndöcz, partner of Deloitte Legal. "On the one hand, it is good news, as the approaches and principles appearing in the GVHʼs practices provide a great deal of help in interpreting consumer protection rules. On the other hand, however, new business models appearing on the digital market raise unknown and increasingly complex problems, therefore it is also important that companies act carefully in developing their practices."