You are currently viewing Las leyes impulsan las prácticas leales para la protección del consumidor

Laws drive fair practices for consumer protection

Loyalty occurs when something or someone is trustworthy, truthful and faithful. When a consumer agrees to carry out commercial transactions, loyalty is a principle to be safeguarded. This has been understood by the European Union (EU), whose Directive has designed a legal instrument that guarantees the execution of fair commercial practices and protects all those involved in the process, especially those who make the purchase. This European legislation is created so that when making a purchase anywhere in the EU, even through the web, the citizen is not involved in unfair commercial practices.

Deceptive trade practices are defined as those that contain false information and therefore lack truthfulness or data that induce, or may induce, an erroneous decision in the average consumer, even when the information is factually correct as to one or more elements. This concept includes that for a practice to be qualified as unfair, it must comply with two aspects to be considered: it must be apt to induce error in its addressees and to influence their economic behavior.

When advertising, selling or supplying products and services, companies or individuals must provide accurate and sufficient information to make informed decisions. If this information is not available or is not sufficiently clear, it can be considered as a misleading commercial action.

What is happening in the European Union

EU regulations offer protection against two main types of commercial practices: misleading (misleading information either by action or omission) and aggressive practices that seek to force the purchase of the product or service. So far, the most common practices of this type have been typified:

  • Advertising luresMerchants must advertise discounted products or services only if they have sufficient stock to meet public demand. Likewise, they are obliged to inform customers of the number of items on sale and the duration of the offers.
  • Falsely free offersThe actual price information of the products and services must be clearly displayed and notified to the buyer from the very beginning. It is not valid the presentation of supposed free paid services if the cost of this is included in the real price.
  • Manipulation of minorsIt is forbidden for merchants to directly influence your children or minors to incite them to purchase a product or service.
  • False sanitary propertiesWhen it comes to products or services with therapeutic effects, the consumer has the right to obtain quality scientific information on the veracity of the therapy offered.
  • Hidden advertisements in media reportsIt is important for the consumer to know when the information published in a media outlet corresponds to a commercial alliance between the media outlet in question and the company. This information must be expressly included in the publication.
  • PyramidsIncludes promotional systems in which you pay in exchange for the possibility of obtaining a particular benefit, through the attraction of more participants. In these situations the pyramid usually collapses and the last ones involved in the system usually lose all their investment.
  • Fake prizes and gifts: It is forbidden to give false prizes in which a payment is subsequently demanded to receive them.
  • False special offersIt is not legitimate to advertise that an offer has a limited term when this is not true, since the buyer is forcing the purchase of the product or service.
  • Unsolicited and persistent offersThe regulations clearly state that companies may not make constant offers without having been authorized by the customer by telephone, fax, e-mail, etc.

In these situations, it is important to have the advice from commercial law professionalsThey have an in-depth knowledge of the regulations for their jurisdictions and support consumer protection against unfair trade practices anywhere in the world. Countries have a duty to regulate trade processes to ensure the healthiest scenario for these interactions.

Consumer protection in Venezuela

In Venezuela, the regulatory framework offers consumer protection through the Consumer and User Protection Law enacted in 2004. with the intention of defending and safeguarding the rights and interests of consumers and users, as well as their organization, education, information and guidance. The measures taken in this instrument also identify and establish administrative and criminal offenses, procedures for the reparation of damages suffered by suppliers of goods and services and the application of sanctions to those who violate the established provisions.

In addition, the National Superintendence for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights (Sundde) is the governmental institution in charge in Venezuela of watching over the socioeconomic rights of Venezuelan consumers and users, through the supervision of costs and the establishment of conditions for the commercial process. This institution was created in 2014 following an Enabling Decree issued by the President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro.

The Sundde as well as the regulatory institution of this nature in Panama, the Authority for Consumer Protection and Defense of Competition (Acodeco), offers a complaint service through its web page with the intention of facilitating this legal procedure to the consumer from any place he/she may be.

Sources consulted