Stricter rules for Lithuanian P2B platforms from July 2020

From 12 July 2020, the so-called P2B Regulation will also apply in Lithuania. Providers must prepare themselves for this.

Regulation (EU) 2019/1150 on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services includes transparency rules to allow fairer competition. So, for example, online platforms must draft clear and comprehensible terms and conditions which explain, among other things, when and why access can be blocked for traders.

In addition, online platforms must in future disclose ranking criteria according to which products and services appear higher or lower on the list of results. They will also have to provide information if paid influence on the ranking is possible.

Online search engines

An “online search engine” is a digital service that allows users to search any topic by keyword, voice input, phrase, or other input (e.g. by uploading an image) and have results displayed in any format.

Online intermediation services

An “online intermediation service” exists if

• this is an information society service (i.e. it is provided online)
• enables commercial users to offer goods or services via the Service
• direct transactions are mediated between these commercial users and consumers
• commercial users can offer goods or services to consumers based on a contract with the service provider

So, online intermediation services are marketplaces, platforms for services, distribution platforms for software applications or online social media services. On the other hand, online intermediation services do not include platforms that do not mediate direct transactions to consumers (e.g. online advertising platforms), pure P2P intermediation services (without the participation of commercial users), pure B2B platforms or online payment services.

Requirements for terms and conditions

Online intermediation service providers must ensure that their terms and conditions are easily accessible at all times and provide clear and comprehensible information on many aspects, such as reasons for suspension, termination or restriction of the service or information on the impact of the terms and conditions on the intellectual property rights of commercial users.

A commercial user must be informed at least 15 days in advance of any changes to the terms and conditions. The commercial user concerned will be entitled to terminate the contract with the online intermediation service provider before the expiry of this period. Terms and conditions or individual provisions in these that do not meet these requirements are ineffective. This also applies to changes in the terms and conditions.
Additionally, providers of online search engines must provide clear and comprehensible explanations of the main parameters that are most important for rankings and inform the customer about possible different treatments.

Settlement of disputes

Online intermediation service providers must set up internal easily accessible free complaint-handling systems –an exception is made for small online intermediation service providers (companies employing fewer than 50 persons and whose annual turnover or annual balance sheet does not exceed EUR 10 million).

As an alternative to judicial settlement, users must be offered the possibility of voluntary extrajudicial settlement of disputes (mediation).

This provides an affected company with the following means of enforcing its rights:

• Mediation to be offered by the online mediation service
• Complaints system for large online intermediation services
• Civil lawsuit

Source:
Regulation (EU) 2019/1150 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services

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