In the context of the launch of the Guarantee-Return System (SGR) on November 30, 2023, it is timely to remember that even online merchants selling products with SGR packaging have a set of obligations, albeit significantly reduced compared to other economic operators involved in the process. In this regard, the legal framework for SGR is applicable to online merchants conducting economic activities, though not in its entirety. Thus, this particular category of merchants benefits from a series of exceptions to the general rules imposed.
As a consequence, among the obligations that also apply to merchants operating in the virtual space is the obligation to register in the SGR database, to pay their supplier the guarantee for products purchased with SGR packaging, and to recover it later through the sale of products to customers. Additionally, concerning products subject to the guarantee-return system, online merchants are obliged to inform buyers that a warranty fee of 0.50 lei is being charged.
However, a primary exemption explicitly provided from SGR rules is that economic operators engaged in online commerce will not be required to set up SGR packaging return points. Furthermore, merchants making products available in the national market with SGR packaging through online platforms are not obliged to return the guarantee for products to end consumers.
Thus, customers of online merchants need to be informed that, unlike other merchants, they do not have to request a purchase receipt from customers when receiving SGR packaging. Moreover, consumers must be informed, including at the shelf level, about the category of products covered by SGR, as well as the value and method of guarantee refund, the address, and the schedule of the collection point for products in SGR packaging. Depending on the merchant’s capabilities, the guarantee for products will be refunded to end consumers in one of the following forms: cash, voucher, or bank transfer.
Packaging subject to the guarantee-return system includes non-reusable primary packaging made of glass, plastic, or metal, with volumes ranging from 0.1 to 3 liters. In this regard, regardless of where they were purchased, SGR packaging must be completely emptied, undamaged, and bear the marking indicating its belonging to the system (representative symbol and SGR barcode) to be eligible for return. The return of packaging can be done at any collection point organized nationally, within a maximum of 24 months from the date announced by the SGR administrator of the product’s market withdrawal. Consumers can verify their belonging to the system through the SGR marking, information available in stores, and by checking the dedicated online platform.
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