The House of Representatives and the House of Representatives' Economic Commission generally approve the “Cernac Protects You” bill

The House of Representatives' Economic Committee generally approved the “SERNAC Protects You” bill, which seeks to give the consumer protection agency more powers.

In this way, a first phase was completed, which started in August 2023, the Commission heard the most diverse actors involved and presented different representatives of consumer associations, trade unions and academics.

In support of the legislative initiative, the event created the necessary space for presentations by officials such as the Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism, Nicholas Grau, and allowed the bill to be analyzed and examined in its general aspects; Undersecretary for Economy and Small Business, Javeera Peterson; and SERNAC's National Director, Andrés Herrera.

“This is a very important program, which in practice currently has more than 250 thousand complaints per year that are not properly resolved because the companies do not give a satisfactory response or in some cases they do not. The answer.. The fact that these claims are well attended to and well resolved is that this program by giving Cernak the ability to sanction Exactly what it does,” Minister Nicholas Grau said after the approval.

“We are happy, the project continues to move forward and we hope to make some changes that will build consensus and allow us to continue to move forward with a project that is so important to citizens,” the portfolio holder added.

For its part, the service's authority expressed satisfaction with the development. “This is good news because it is progress, the work first carried out by SERNAC is recognized as essential throughout Chile, because we all have to sympathize with consumers who suffer from violations and, in many cases, have to wait years. Get concrete solutions.

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Likewise, he stressed the importance of “having more tools to resolve cases quickly and effectively”, for example, if “response to complaints is mandatory and there is a power to sanction non-compliant companies”. .” , and mandate direct refunds to consumers, the spirited aspects of the plan that will continue its course in Congress.

After the idea is generally approved, the bill will continue its discussion in a special committee.

Ra Chi Thu

Currently, 43% of complaints submitted to SERNAC are not resolved and the only alternative that consumers have to persevere is to approach the courts. However, less than 3% of cases end up in a local police court (JPL).

Currently, SERNAC does not have enough tools to provide timely solutions to consumer problems in case of individual complaints, because to do so it must report companies to local police courts, which can only impose fines for tax incentives. for violations.

In this context, the bill envisages prompt and effective management of complaints by companies by creating complaint response channels and also the duty to respond to them.

Likewise, the scheme strengthens the role that SERNAC plays in managing the complaints it receives, imposing an obligation on companies to respond when they are referred to them, which is currently entirely voluntary, increasing the likelihood of faster access. Repairs and in this event will be beneficial to the consumer.

That is, the focus should be on compliance with the law, with varying degrees of compliance, but with the possibility of allowing those companies that did not comply in each of the preceding instances.

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In conclusion, the possibility of using sanctions by SERNAC for companies will be a last resort, as the bill provides incentives for companies to first provide solutions to problems when they receive complaints from consumers.

Therefore, this bill aims to solve cases that are not addressed with the current system: those that are not solved by the companies, which they should do so, those that are not solved by SERNAC because it does not have the power and because the consumer does not come forward to complain, they are not solved by the courts of the local police.

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