Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Consumer Protection in Romania

Our lawyers at Darie,Manea and Associates are entitled to offer full support, legal assistance and representation for companies regarding distribution, technology licenses, marketing or sales of services and goods in terms of consumer protection.  Consumer protection regulations are very important for companies that activate in sales sector, no matter if they sell services or goods. 

Consumer protection is even of higher importance for international companies that want to expand their activity in other member states of EU. Despite the fact that the European legislation might seem to be universal and common for all EU countries, there are still some different legal aspects depending on each country that must be taken into consideration.  For example, sanctions regarding infringements are different, as well as the authority that regulates consumer protection and competition. Therefore, companies that are looking to expand their activities in other member states of the EU, should contact a lawyer in order to understand the risks and get acquainted with the local legislation where they want to go.  

Having in mind this important point, we are able to offer counseling to our clients related to implementing consumer protection provisions and regulations according to the National Authority for Consumer Protection procedures and EU relevant legislation. 

Do not hesitate to contact our lawyers for a free consultation.

Getting re-authorization for no properly constructed building in Romania

There are a lot of buildings that are constructed without the adequate authorization for many reasons, such as:
  •  The beneficiary wants to expand the terrace
  • The beneficiary decided to build an extra floor, exceeding the limit that was approved by the Town Planning Certificate (Certificat de Urbanism)
  •  The constructor placed the building on another position, due to a pal misinterpretation
  • The beneficiary took the decision to give up the basement in order to build a higher last floor, despite the fact that the Building Permit (Autorizatia de Construire) was approved for the basement and not for the taller last floor

The two documents mentioned above: The Building Permit (Autorizaita de Construire) and the Town Planning Certificate (Certificat de Urbanism) are needed before starting to build anything. In addition to these, the beneficiary needs drawings to show exactly the architectural and cadastral characteristics of the building. All of these documents show how the building needs to be constructed and assembled.  
In order to be able to do any material physical modification, you need to change all these documents first and get approval and authorization before doing them. Of course, in practice, a lot of these modifications are made without changing the paperwork and obtaining authorization for them.
If you do find yourself in that position, you must follow Law No. 50/1991 on authorization of construction works, and obtain a re-authorization of the building resulted from the modifications made. The procedure is known as “getting back within the law limits” as the construction activities have been mad outside the law temporarily, as they were not mentioned in the initial plans of the building. Before the Law mentioned earlier came into force, this procedure was not possible. If you have brought modifications to a building you must remove them before getting a new authorization.
Today, due to the fast increase of construction business, the public authorities needed to accept that some errors may arise in the process and eliminate penalizations and get them to re-authorize the new plans. The first step is to submit another file at the local Town Hall where the building is located.  The file must contain all documents required for the initial authorization, plus the new drawings and changes. A new Building Permit and Town Planning Certificate will be issued and the new drawings will go to the construction site. 
Finally, after the re-authorization is approved and the technical requirements from Town Hall experts are met, the new technical documentation will be released. The constructor will use the new documentation to finalize the building accordingly.

Mandatory minimum fees for Romanian lawyers

Starting in 2017, UNBR released the decision that lawyers charge their clients according to the minimum rates for services rendered. For example, an hour of legal assistance should be charged with a minimum of $ 120, while a divorce request without minors should cost at least $ 960. On the other hand, attorneys may lower minimum rates by up to 50% for certain categories of people in order not to affect access to justice. This set of minimum fees applies to legal assistance contracts with physical perks, while minimum fees are 50% higher for legal persons. However, these minimum fees cannot be used in payments that exceed one year, otherwise, these rates would fall below the minimum.
This minimum fees table includes the following services:
1.       Representation in civil / contentious administrative and fiscal matters (tariffs between 120 and 240 lei)
2.       Professional activities in the concurrent procedure (between 240 and 860 lei)
3.       Shares and demandable money (between 450-13,000 lei)
4.       Actions and non-pecuniary claims (between 960 and 1200 lei)
5.       Actions in respect of forced execution (between 960 and 1200 lei)
6.       Actions and requests related to family relationships (between 840 and 1680 lei)
7.       As regards administrative consistency (between 840 and 1680 lei)
8.       Insolvency (between 120 and 960 lei)
9.       Contraventions - 600 lei
10.   Land Book - 840 lei
11.   Work disputes, rights and obligations of social character (between 360 and 1200 lei)
12.   Legal advice and drafting of documents (between 120 and 1680 lei)
13.   Criminal investigation (between 120 and 1440 lei)
14.   Preliminary Chamber (between 120 and 480 lei)
15.   Judgment at first instance (between 240 and 840 lei)
16.   Judgment on appeal (between 120 and 1440 lei)
17.   Extraordinary ways of attack - 480 lei
18.   Execution of criminal decisions and special laws (between 120 and 360 lei)
19.   Rehabilitation (between 120 and 720 lei)

This decision has raised many controversies among lawyers, and they are dissatisfied with the decision, and considering that lack of competition in terms of prices will prevent them from increasing their client portfolio. Although these tariffs have existed in the past, they were eliminated in 2004.

On the other hand, these regulations could also bring benefits to the law industry. The main purpose of this regulation was to protect consumer rights by developing a competition based on the quality standards of the services offered. However, the law is erroneously written, leaving room for interpretations and contradictions. For example, once it is clear that these minimum rates are mandatory, it is also specified that it is forbidden to set minimum and maximum rates for lawyers.

Why open a micro-enterprise?

Are you a young entrepreneur? Do you want to become your own boss? You have ideas, you have capital, but you do not know which the best legal form of representation is? In this article we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a micro-enterprise and the process of its establishment. Very many entrepreneurs start their way with the establishment of a PFA (authorized person), but as the business grows, there is a need to set up a micro-enterprise: SRL or SRL-D.

For a company to be considered a micro-enterprise, it must meet the following conditions:

- The share capital is held by other persons outside the administrative-territorial units and the state
- Revenues from the previous year did not exceed € 1,000,000 for an existing company
- The company is not dissolving, for existing companies
- It does not represent: bank deposit guarantee fund, private pension guarantee fund, insurers' guarantee fund, investor compensation fund or transparent tax entities with legal personality.

Starting January 1, 2018, including the companies that carry out the following activities:

- Gambling
- Exploration, development, exploitation of natural gas and petroleum deposits
- Insurance and reinsurance, capital market (exception: intermediaries)
- The banking field may have the micro-enterprise status if they fulfill the above three conditions.

Unlike 2017, in 2018, revenue from consulting and management activities is no longer required to pay corporation tax if income from these activities exceeds 20% of total revenue. In addition, companies with a minimum share capital of 45,000 lei can no longer opt for the payment of corporate income tax if they meet the micro-enterprise conditions.

To set up a micro-enterprise, the following are required:

·         Reservation of the company name - it is possible to check the availability of the name online
·         Choosing a registered office
·         Drawing up the constitutional act
·         Opening a share capital account to any bank
·         Deposit of social capital of minimum 200 lei
·         Preparing the necessary documents for registration with the Trade Register:
-    Application for registration (standard form available at ONRC)
-    Annex 1 for tax registration (standard form available at ONRC)
-    Annex 2 for foreign investment - if applicable (standard form to be found at ONRC)
·         An Ownership Statement signed by Associates or Administrators on:
§      The legal person does not carry out at the registered office, secondary or outside points for a maximum of 3 years, the declared activities
§      The legal person fulfills the conditions of sanitary-veterinary functioning, environmental protection, sanitary and labor protection (as the case may be)
·         Proof of name reservation
·         An Agreement on the use of the name, if applicable
·         Constitutive Act
·         Declaration if there is a unique associate, as it is no longer uniquely associated with another LLC
·         Document proving the right of use of space for headquarters