• News

The Justice Secretariat Established the Procedure to Select Conciliators in Consumer-Business Relationships

By Andrea Tamara De Chiara

Ministry Resolution No. 22/15, issued on March 11, 2015, and published in the Official Gazette on March 12, 2015, established the procedure to select conciliators in consumer-business relationships pursuant to Section 7 (c) of Law No. 26993, also incorporating the regulations of the NATIONAL REGISTRY OF CONCILIATORS IN CONSUMER-BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS (RENCCO).

For the avoidance of doubt, I will describe the main features of the procedure and the main requirements, functions, and obligations set out by the regulations of the RENNCO.

  1. Procedure to Select Conciliators in Consumer-Business Relationships

The conciliator must be chosen from the list of individuals registered at the RENCCO. Once the claim has been admitted by the Prior Conciliation Service for Consumer-Business Relationships (COPREC), the claimant or the conciliator appointed –if authorized– must send the provider (respondent) a registered letter notifying the claim and a proposed registered conciliator, together with four alternate conciliators. If the respondent does not choose another, or several respondents do not agree on a conciliator within the periods established in the regulations, the conciliator proposed by the consumer will be confirmed. If the respondent chooses one of the alternatives, it must establish special domicile and notify the consumer at the special address thereof. In this case, the conciliator chosen by the provider will be confirmed.

When the election of the conciliator has become final and conclusive, the claimant must notify the COPREC of the conciliator appointed.

  1. MEPRE System (Preliminary Mediation)

The conciliator must register at the Registry of Users of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights in order to be authorized in the MEPRE System. For that purpose, the conciliator must obtain a code and password, which is personal, secret, and can be used only by the conciliator, who is responsible for any damage caused as a result of its use. The information provided on the MEPRE system with the code and password will be regarded as a sworn statement and will be sufficient evidence of conciliations and their outcomes.

The full information on the conciliation must be entered on the IT system within two days following the meeting where the conciliation has been concluded. The conciliator is responsible for the accuracy of the information provided. The conciliator must:

  • Provide the information of any party that did not attend and the outcome of the notification;
  • Record the justification for any absence in the remarks of the minutes, if it is received within 5 business days following the meeting;
  • Prepare the certificate for the fine imposed on the provider that did not attend and submit it to the COPREC on paper, attaching the notices sent;
  • Specify the terms of any agreement reached on an electronic file and insert them in a sample of Special Minutes; and
  • Once the agreement has been approved, inform on the MEPRE System about his fees, so that the COPREC will be notified and send a certified copy of the agreement to the respondent.
  1. RENCCO Regulations

The individuals who apply for registration at the RENCCO must fulfill the following requirements, laid down in its regulations:

  • Proving their identity with their ID Cards;
  • Proving that they are mediators registered at the National Mediators Registry under Law No. 26589 or providing proof of the authorization granted to them by the Trade Secretariat pursuant to the third paragraph of Section 4 of Law No. 26993 and of their training in communicative and management tools;
  • Proving the passing of an aptitude exam;
  • Submitting a Criminal Record Certificate;
  • Not being penalized with a disqualification from the RENNCO or from the National Mediators Registry;
  • Proving their participation in and successful completion of a 20-hour training course per year.

Additionally, the regulations establish the requirements for registration at the RENNCO and the renewal thereof, including establishing special domicile in the City of Buenos Aires, providing an email address to which notices will be sufficiently given in relation to the RENCCO and the COPREC, being registered at the AFIP in the relevant category, fulfilling the requirements applicable to the premises where the conciliation meetings will be held, and declaring that they have the equipment with the minimum necessary features and a land line at the special domicile.

Finally, they spell out conciliators’ obligations and the functions of the RENNCO.

Conciliators must work on administrative business days, and conciliation meetings (whenever conciliators are chosen at random) must be held between 7:30 A.M. and 7 P.M.