The Ministry of the Economy is drafting a change to the Consumer Protection Act that would allow retailers to issue paper checks on a voluntarily basis provided certain payment requirements are fulfilled by the consumer
Current legislation obliges retailers to print out paper receipts for purchasers if the invoice exceeds €20.
Sandra Särav, undersecretary or business and consumer environment at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, told ERR that many consumers do not see the need for a paper receipt.
"A case in point is Rimi, which says that by offering paperless payment options at self-service registers, it was able to save 17 tons of paper last year," she said.
The ministry wants to amend the Consumer Protection Act so that it is not mandatory to issue paper receipts for any purchase amount if the customer pays the bill using a bank card or a loyalty card. The obligation to issue paper receipts would be maintained only if the person pays for the purchase in cash.
Särav said that as a result of the change, a paper receipt should not be automatically issued if the shopper pays by bank card, as in that case the consumer will be able to request a paper check and the retailer will have to issue it. "It's just that we're changing the system, so that the automatic setting is not that the check comes out of there."
The change in the law would make this voluntary, which means that retailers can decide for themselves whether to go along or not, which means that smaller shops do not need to set up these complicated systems themselves and they can issue paper receipts anyway.
However, in its feedback on the planned changes, Tallinn City asks whether consumers' rights will still be protected after the changes. How will it be possible in the future for a consumer to prove, for example, that a defective product was bought from a particular trader without having a paper receipt?
Kristina Tammaru, head of consumer and business counseling department of the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority (TTJA), the development of customer databases protects consumers' rights.
"If the consumer is forced to rely solely on digital purchase registration, it should be possible to extract purchase history from the customer database in a reasonable amount of time." Perhaps this takes into account the fact that, under the law, all of us as customers have the right to file a complaint if something goes wrong with the things we purchased within the last two years," Tammaru added.
The reform could enter into force in the second quarter of next year.
Editor: Kristina Kersa