From March 23 2016 there are new information duties for companies suppliers of goods or consumers and service providers in compliance with the new alternative dispute resolution mechanisms (extrajudicial) for consumer disputes law.
Thus, companies are obliged to inform consumers about the ADR entities (Alternative Resolution of Consumer Disputes), clearly, visible and apropriate to the type of good and service rendered, for example:
• through a label placed on the sales counter or posted on the wall;
• on the website, if any;
• the purchase and sale or provision of services between the two parties, where they assume the written form or constitute adhesion contracts;
• alternatively, on the invoice delivered to the consumer.
The law in question – Law No. 144/2015 of September 8th- intended to promote arbitration in consumer disputes, “when they are initiated by a consumer against a supplier of goods or service and respect contractual obligations arising from purchase and sale or provision of services concluded between a supplier of goods or provider of services established and consumers residing in Portugal and in the European Union “(v. Article 2 of Law No. 144/2015 of 8 September). Despite the rather broad wording that, in our view, may be creating confusion, the typical legal relationship covered by this legislation is that which opposes the supplier of services to the end consumer, and not the relationship that is established between the various intermediaries in the value chain of a product. In fact, under Article 2 of the Consumer Law in the most recent version approved by Law No. 47/2014, of 28/07 “is considered every consumer whom are provided goods, services or broadcast any rights, for non-professional use, a person exercising professional basis an economic activity aimed at obtaining benefits. ” The combination of the two diplomas results that are only covered those relations with the consignee of the goods or services provided by the company and not those that are established with companies that mediate the deal (see, for example with advertising agencies or particular promoter an event / product or service) and only to recipients who do not make professional use of the service (which leaves out all businesses, professionals and individual entrepreneurs) or that are already linked to another arbitration scheme (as is the case of essential public services such as electricity, gas, water and waste, electronic communications and postal services).
It is discussed further under this law if these obligations would meet excluding service providers who develop their activity exclusively through the internet, even those who have not joined any reconciliation entity, mediation or arbitration or are not nor should be linked (as is the case of essential public services such as electricity, gas, water and waste, electronic communications and postal services) to arbitration required for alternative resolution of consumer disputes. Unless better understanding, the letter and clearly diploma ratio point towards generalization since at no time discriminate this or that supplier of goods or services (having already the General Directorate of Consumer (DCC) from the yard sustain this thesis).
On the other hand, even in the case of final consumers subject to arbitration remains voluntary, which becomes mandatory are duties of information about the existence of alternative dispute resolution bodies conflicts, disclosure of which should be made on the internet site company and contract / invoice of service.
Oped that are little more than two months on application of this law its implementation is still unknown, since in addition to the large traders are still few companies to comply
One final note. I perceive, understand and support the desire of the legislature to avoid the sphere of small disputes Courts consumption, because the arbitration process by consumer initiative at this stage is free. Already in deserves repair the burden of disclosure to run on behalf of service providers under the threat of fines of up to € 25,000 for companies, since public policy – although meritorious, as this at least in its intentions – they should not be borne solely by economic agents their recipients, otherwise constitute real tax.
Published in “Inovação & Estratégia” from the newspapper Público on 30/06/2016
Photo credits roya ann miller in Unspash