On December 24, 2021, Law No. 21.398 was published in the Official Gazette, which establishes a series of measures to raise the standard of protection of consumer rights or the so-called “Pro-Consumer Law”.
This law amends, among other regulatory bodies, Law No. 19.496, which establishes rules for the protection of consumers’ rights (or “LPC”), Law No. 18.010, which establishes rules for credit operations and other money obligations, and the Law on Sales and Services Tax, contained in Decree Law No. 825 of 1974.
The main amendments introduced by this law refer to matters that involve all adhesion contracts and, especially, e-commerce, obliging the industry to adjust its contractual terms, as well as the terms and conditions that have been implemented in e-commerce. In this regard, the most relevant changes in this regard are the following:
1. General recognition of the pro-consumer principle, which will be fully applied in the interpretation of adhesion contracts, both in ambiguous and contradictory clauses.
2. New consumer rights, with the possibility for the consumer to go directly to court and expressly recognizing as consumer rights those contained in different bodies of law.
3. The duration of the legal guarantee of the products is modified, extending it from 3 to 6 months, and entering into force on March 25, 2022.
4. Modifications to consumer protection in adhesion contracts, prohibiting abusive clauses in them, establishing obligations to adapt contracts to make them accessible to people with disabilities and establishing the obligation of suppliers to inform consumers about the mechanisms and conditions to terminate such contracts.
5. Extension of the right of withdrawal to commerce carried out by electronic or distance means, which may be exercised within 10 days from the acquisition or physical delivery of the product.
6. Modifications referred to basic commercial information of durable products and regarding costs and times in dispatch services.
7. New measures for the protection of consumers’ personal data are established, granting supervisory powers to SERNAC in data protection matters and establishing the exercise of collective actions by SERNAC in these matters, limited to a consumer relationship, and provided that the powers do not conflict with the legal powers of other bodies.
Notwithstanding the aforementioned amendments, this Law makes relevant changes in financial, aeronautical, education certificate and transportation matters.
Given the above, and in view of this and other regulatory changes that regulate the consumer relationship, the recommendation is that suppliers review and adjust their contracts of adhesion, as well as their terms and conditions and privacy policies to the regulations applicable to each of their businesses.