Online platforms and online search engines (P2B)
On 23 March 2023, an amendment to Act No.480/2004 Coll., on Certain Information Society Services, came into effect, by which CTU was entrusted to supervise the compliance with the obligations set out in 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 – so called P2B Regulation.
The purpose of the P2B Regulation is to strengthen the rights of business users of online intermediation services (online platforms) and online search engines.
A business user is defined, according to the P2B Regulation, as any private person acting in a commercial or professional capacity, or any legal person, which through online intermediation services offers goods or services to consumers, for purposes relating to its trade, business, craft or profession.
Online intermediation service according to the P2B Regulation:
is an information society service,
- which allows business users to offer goods or services to consumers,
- is provided to business users on the basis of a contractual relationship between the provider of those services and the business users
Online search engine according to the P2B Regulation:
is digital service,
- which allows users to input queries in order to perform searches of, in principle, all websites or all websites in a particular language, the result of the query may be provided in any format.
The P2B Regulation lays down a set of binding rules to ensure a fair, predictable, sustainable and trustworthy online business environment within the internal market, with an emphasis on transparency and the possibility to seek effective remedy.
Obligations of online intermediation service providers:
- Rules for contractual terms and conditions
Terms and conditions must be easily accessible, detailed, transparent and written in clear and understandable language. Changes to the terms and conditions must be notified by the provider at least 15 days in advance on a durable medium.
- Visibility to business users
The identity of the business user must be clearly visible on the online platform.
- Procedure for restriction, suspension or termination of the provision of services
The restriction, suspension or termination of the provision of services must be notified to the business user on a durable medium, including a statement of reasons with reference to the specific provisions of the terms and conditions. Unless otherwise provided, the provider must notify the termination of services at least 30 days in advance.
- Ranking of displaying offers or search results
The provider must provide in advance a description of the main parameters that determine the ranking and explain their relative importance in relation to other parameters. They must also indicate how any direct or indirect payment by the user will affect the ranking.
- Transparency in differentiated treatment
The provider shall transparently indicate all cases of differentiated treatment concerning the offers of goods and services of business users, compared to its own offers or those of users under its control.
- Restrictions on sales outside the online platform
The terms and conditions must transparently describe any restrictions applied to business users if they decide to offer the same goods or services outside the provider's online platform.
In addition, providers that are not small undertakings are required to establish an internal complaint settlement system for business users and to designate in their contractual terms and conditions at least 2 mediators with whom they are willing to cooperate in out-of-court dispute resolution.
Online platforms include e.g. online marketplaces, online comparison tools or booking platforms (B2C). On the contrary, the Regulation does not apply to business-to-business (B2B) intermediation services, online payment services, advertising tools and platforms used for the direct sale of goods and services.
Obligations of online search engine providers:
- to publish the main parameters that are individually or collectively most important in determining ranking, and the relative importance of these main parameters,
- to provide a description of any differentiated treatment they apply to the offers of goods and services of business websites users, compared to their own offers or those of business websites under their control.
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