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Chiritoiu: Romania must implement the European Directive on compensating the victims of unfair competition until March 24


Romania must implement the European Directive on compensating the victims of unfair competition until March 24, 2017 and the transposition Ordinance was completed by the Competition Council, which also included in the project the possibility for compensations to be paid based on the sanctioning decision of the Council, not only in court. 

"Romania is lagging behind in transposing the Directive. The new deadline received from the European Commission is March 24, 2017. (...) The ordinance was co-initiated by the Ministry of Economy and since there are no changes as compared to the end of last year, I expect things will move forward fast enough," declared on Tuesday, the president of the Competition Council, Bogdan Chiritoiu, at PRIA Competition conference, the most important event dedicated to competition regulations, acquisitions and state aid. 

According to him, the transposition of the directive was carried out by Ordinance because there is no more time required to pass a bill in Parliament, but the Government will decide the shape of the piece of legislation. 

Regarding the compensation means for the victims of unfair competition, Chiritoiu mentioned that courts will decide the amount of compensation, but based on evidence made available by the competition authority. 

Moreover, he stressed that the draft bill contains a provision for the compensation of victims to be included in the Council's decisions, so that they are exempted from going to court. He gave the example of the Otopeni gas operator who was sanctioned because it charged higher-than-usual prices to connect to the network. "As part of the sanction, they have committed to give back to the people what we considered to be the excessive part of the price taken," said Chiritoiu. 

The President of the Competition Council said that, under the new legislation, victims will have at their disposal a clearer basis to claim compensation. "So far, we fined the company, with large fines going to the state budget," added Chiritoiu.

According to ANPC President, Bogdan Pandelica, the National Authority for Consumer Protection (ANPC) received in 2016 about 100,000 complaints, almost double as compared to 2013, and the topics show an increased consumer knowledge in the field.

"In addition, we have noticed the increased complexity of complaints, the issues brought into question showing an enhancement in knowledge in the field of consumer protection," said Pandelica, at the PRIA Competition conference . 

At the same time, the ANPC President mentioned that the amount of damages recovered has increased in the last three years from one million euro in 2013 to 3 million euro last year.