Tuesday, January 25

Consumers will have to be served by a natural person and not by a robot



The Government has approved this Tuesday the draft of the Law on customer service services in the first round in the Council of Ministers. The main measures of the text promoted by the Ministry of Consumption are to set a period of one month for companies to answer claims made by customers or that consumers have to be attended by a natural person and not by an answering machine. The new regulation includes stricter requirements in the pre-contractual information, a more guaranteeing regulation regarding the certification in the reduction of prices or the ordering of the dual quality of the goods, that is, the articles marketed as identical, but that present different characteristics. .

“Faced with the desperation of not being cared for by a natural person, this law deepens the attention that the consumer should have,” explained the Minister of Territorial Policy and Government spokesperson, Isabel Rodríguez.

During the press conference after the Council of Ministers, Rodriguez pointed out that the law “proclaims the right to be attended by a natural person and not by a robot.”

Nevertheless, the rule will only affect basic service companies of general interest -excluding health, sanitation and waste- and that have at least 250 employees or an annual turnover of a minimum of 50 million of euros.

The preliminary draft prepared by the department led by Alberto Garzón aims to eliminate inequalities that occur in the internal market, strengthen legal certainty for entrepreneurs and increase the information available to buyers. The regulation that will be approved today transposes Directive (EU) 2019/2161 and implies modifying three legal texts: the revised text of the General Law for the Defense of Consumers and Users, the Law on the Regulation of Retail Trade and the Competition Law. Unfair.

From Facua-Consumidores en Acción consider the draft absolutely “disappointing” because it allows supply cuts due to debts that consumers have questioned before the competent administrations. Nor does it impose compensation if the period of one month to answer the claims is breached. and eliminates the obligation to provide an email and even a postal address to which to lodge complaints. Likewise, Facua denounces that this period of one month is triple the one that has existed for four decades for claim sheets in regional regulations.

Facua regrets that after holding several meetings with those responsible for Consumption to discuss this matter, the ministry has neglected almost all their demands. «The content of the draft of the preliminary bill provides even fewer improvements in consumer protection than the customer service bill that reached Congress in the last year of the government of the socialist José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, which was never approved, and that the draft of the first Executive of the popular Mariano Rajoy “, they point out from the consumer association.

For its part, Adicae described the draft bill on Customer Service Services as “unfocused and ineffective.” From Adicae they recalled that it is urgent to address “a serious and in-depth reform of the alternative dispute resolution systems in consumer matters.” In this sense, Adicae recalled that 70% of consumers who initiate a claim give up continuing without having a solution and without reaching the public consumer services.

Competence Assessment

The National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) has already evaluated the draft law that modifies the General Law for the Defense of Consumers and Users and pointed out thate approval will help reduce consumer information gaps in remote contracting situations or outside the commercial establishment.

In this sense, the CNMC issued a report in which it analyzed the preliminary draft presented by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. Competence, in addition to evaluating the preliminary draft, makes some suggestions so that they are incorporated into the final text and claimed enhance the veracity of product reviews of the sales pages so that it is clear if they are sponsored or interested reviews.

Competition also urged that the withdrawal period from contracts, which is usually 14 days, begin from the moment in which the consumer has all the products necessary for the provision of the service. The supervisor also recommended that package travel customers know what part of the service each company manages and their options when claiming and that companies avoid using special telephone rates in their customer service.

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